The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


August 2, 2021 edition–ExxonMobil’s discovery; Trinidad & Tobago’s refinery; and El Salvador’s power storage.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America.

Guatemala’s water will power up its McDonald’s; the IMF reviewed Panama’s economy; and Neon got financing for El Salvador’s storage projects.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The Dominican Republic’s 800MW power plant got 12 offers; Mexico sent fuel to Cuba; and the Dominican Republic got its first green natural gas shipment.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago wants a partner for its refinery; Barbados hopes vaccines will boost its economic recovery; and the World Bank will support St Lucia’s geothermal energy.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. ExxonMobil made yet another discovery in Guyana; Colombia eased natural gas supply rules; and TotalEnergies hit black gold in Suriname.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Venezuela’s imports to boost oil blending (Reuters – English).



Government & NGO


Dominican exports went up in June. The Dominican Republic’s customs (DGA) said the total exports for the period of January to June 2021 reached US$5.7bn, a 28.02% increase compared to the same period in 2020 (Dominican Today – English). It said that between January and June 2021, 60.16% of exports belonged to the free trade zone regime.


Barbados hopes vaccines will boost economic recovery. Barbados is recovering with a 5.5% growth in economic activity during the April to June quarter of 2021 (Barbados Today – English). Vaccination of the population would be a major factor in the recovery process.


The IMF okayed support for Caribbean low-income countries. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a set of reforms to the Fund’s concessional lending facilities to better support Low Income Countries (LICs) during the pandemic and the recovery (IMF – English).


The IMF reviewed Panama’s economy. The International Monetary Fund said Panama’s economy suffered a severe shock due to the pandemic in 2020, contracting output by 17.9% (IMF – English). The Precautionary and Liquidity Line is helping address its vulnerabilities and reinforce the authorities’ economic recovery efforts as Panama meets the PLL qualification criteria.


The Dominican Republic’s economy could grow 7%. According to the Minister of Economy, Planning, and Development, an economic growth of between 6.7% and 11% is expected this year (Dominican Today – English). However, the issue of vaccination is essential to secure the growth.



Oil & Gas Upstream


ExxonMobil made yet another discovery in Guyana… ExxonMobil announced a discovery at Whiptail in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana (ExxonMobil – English). The Guyana government Wednesday welcomed the discovery of new oil reserves within the Stabroek Block offshore (Jamaica Observer – English).


…and TotalEnergies hit black gold too. TotalEnergies and APA Corporation found oil in the Sapakara South-1 well on Block 58 off the coast of Suriname (Market Watch – English). Sapakara South-1 was drilled in a water depth of about 850 meters.


Venezuela plans to boost production. A document was released showing that Venezuela has received delivery of condensate from the Rene supertanker in its Jose port, which will boost production to 1.5 million barrels per day by the end of the year (Oil Price – English).


Equinor and Total Energies will say good-bye to Venezuela. Both companies are exiting the Petrocedeno oil production venture in Venezuela, transferring their stakes to PDVSA (World Oil – English). Total and Equinor held 30% and 10%, respectively.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Trinidad & Tobago wants a partner for its refinery. Trinidad Petroleum Holdings restarted its search for partners to help revive the 175,000 barrel per day Pointe-a-Pierre refinery (OGJ – English). Companies interested in participating in the bidding process had to contact Scotia Capital (USA) Inc. (Scotiabank) via email by July 23.


The Bahamas’ gas stations are struggling. Bahamian gas station operators said they have received no answer from the government regarding their request for assistance on improved profit margins and a lower tax burden (Tribune 242 – English). Petroleum dealers in the past have asked for up to a 50% margin increase to enable them to remain open.


Mexico sent fuel to Cuba. Mexico’s state-owned company sent a fuel cargo to Cuba to help the island manage a crisis that sparked rare protests (Argus Media – English). President López Obrador asserted Mexico’s right to send fuel to Cuba (NBC News – English).


Venezuela’s fuel shortage continues. Venezuela’s capital is rationing gasoline after the output at the state-owned refineries dropped (Bloomberg Quint – English). Lines stretch for blocks in some areas and signal the government is failing to meet its pledge to increase production.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


The Dominican Republic got its first green natural gas shipment. The first shipment of green, carbon-neutral natural gas arrived in the natural gas terminal of the AES Andrés energy complex in the Dominican Republic (Dominican Today – English). This opens a new chapter in the availability of sustainable and reliable energy in the region.


The Dominican Republic’s 800MW power plant got 12 offers. Twelve offers involving 27 companies grouped in eight consortia and four individual firms prequalified in the bidding process for an 800MW power plant and a natural gas terminal in Manzanillo, Montecristi province (Dominican Today – English).


Colombia eased its natural gas supply rules. The Mines and Energy Ministry published the conditions under which developers of natural gas infrastructure may postpone or halt projects acquired through public tenders (BN Americas – English). Contracts may be modified or annulled in the event of “unforeseen and uncontrollable” events.


Colombia’s Acipet called for an overhaul of the Pacific LNG project. The Colombian oil engineer’s association Acipet asked for an overhaul of the US$700 Pacific LNG project, questioning the viability of its existing design. Acipet said the regasification and storage terminal should be mobile and include an export component (BN Americas – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


Neon got financing for El Salvador’s storage projects. The French renewable energy company said that it secured the financing for two battery storage projects totaling 11MW/8MWh in El Salvador (Renewables Now – English). The storage units will provide primary and secondary reserve services for Neon’s 140-MWp Capella and the 101-MWp Providencia plants.


Guatemala’s water will power up its McDonald’s. Enel Green Power Guatemala secured a power purchase agreement (PPA) to supply a total of 17.52GWh of hydropower to local McDonald’s restaurants (Renewables Now – English) (PV Magazine – Spanish). With the agreement, 100% of the McDonald’s restaurants energy consumption will be met with renewables.


Guyana’s big hydro power project is back from the dead. The Caribbean nation’s government says it plans to revive the 165MW Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) and is hoping to start construction in 2022 and finish by 2025 (Caribbean Loopnews – English).


The World Bank will boost St Lucia’s geothermal energy. The World Bank will grant US$21.9m in financing to the St. Lucia government to assess its geothermal resources’ viability for power generation (Renewables Now – English). The funds will back exploratory drilling, capacity building, technical assistance, and market engagement.


Enel Americas shareholders okayed a four-way merger in Colombia. The power utilities group secured the approval to merge four of the company’s subsidiaries in Colombia and Central America into one mega-entity (Renewables Now – English). Essa2 holds Enel Green Power’s clean energy assets in Panama, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.



Old School Social Goes Viral


(Editor’s note: For the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, this section will refocus on announcements of event delays or cancellations, events that are moved online, and scheduled webinars and public conference calls. Stay safe!)



The 8th Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held on September 8-10.



Lateral Thinking


Q Cells donated solar panels in Colombia. The South Korean company donated 310kW solar panels to La Guajira, Colombia, a region hit by hurricanes at the end of 2020 (PV Magazine – Spanish). The solar panels will arrive at the Port of Cartagena in August.



Quote of the Week


“Durante años y años Don Manuel se ocupó de robarle músicas al campo, de descompletar la sinfonía amarilla del canario que canta en los trigales maduros.”


“For years and years, Don Manuel was in charge of stealing music from the field, of leaving incomplete the yellow symphony of the canary that sings in the ripe wheat fields.”



– Marcio Veloz Maggiolo (1936-2021), Dominican writer, archaeologist, and anthropologist.




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