The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


August 3, 2020 edition–The CUC’s solar; ExxonMobil’s discovery; and Colombia’s natural gas finding.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. El Salvador hit the gas on economic recovery plans; Panamá will add 30MW of solar energy; a think tank reevaluates Nicaragua’s natural gas project.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Jamaica’s gas stations are still working on their safety issues; the Dominican Republic is close to the renewables goal for 2025; and the CUC boosts utility-scale solar energy.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Touchstone found 381 billion cubic feet of gas in Cascadura; Dominica discussed its national budget; and OWTU is optimistic over the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery’s sale.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. ExxonMobil made another discovery in Stabroek; Apache was lucky too in Suriname; and Venezuela may be the answer to Colombia’s natural gas needs.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Dominican Republic’s exporters (Dominican Today – English); LNG export burdens (Real Clear Energy – English); and Colombia’s push for oil (BN Americas – English).



Government & NGO


The IDB will back up Honduras’ small businesses. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a US$19.96m loan to support the sustainability of micro, small, and medium enterprises (IADB – English). The goal is to support employment in Honduras after the COVID-19 crisis.


El Salvador hit the gas on economic recovery plans. The Central American country will broaden its reactivation plans in August despite the increase in new COVID-19 contagions (El Mundo – Spanish). El Salvador continues in Phase 1 while Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica will move toward the “new normality” phase.


Infrastructure could be the key to recovery. According to a new report by the Inter-American Development Bank, the Latin American and Caribbean region could gain from a massive infrastructure transformation improving efficiency, use of digital technologies, and a focus on quality consumer services (IADB – English).


Dominica discussed its national budget. The Prime Minister presented the 2020-2021 National Budget of over US$900m to Parliament. The opposition leader criticized the budget as it did not consider the “growing number of Dominicans strapped in poverty and dependency” (Dominica News Online – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


ExxonMobil made another discovery in Stabroek… The US oil giant discovered two more high-quality oil reservoirs in the Stabroek block (DPI – English). As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions in Guyana forced ExxonMobil to temporarily idle two drillships in the country’s waters.


…and Apache was lucky too in Suriname. Apache announced an oil discovery at the Kwaskwasi-1 well drilled in Block 58 using the Noble Sam Croft (Energy Now – English). Kwaskwasi-1 was drilled to a depth of approximately 6,645 meters (21,800 feet) and successfully tested for the presence of hydrocarbons in multiple stacked targets.


CruzSur Energy found natural gas in Colombia’s Aruchara. CruzSur Energy announced that while repairing an oil leak identified in the well drilled in 1980, the company found a large amount of natural gas burning in the flare stack (News Wire – English).


Touchstone found 381 billion cubic feet of gas in Cascadura. The Canadian company Touchstone announced the discovery of a reserve of 381 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas in its onshore Cascadura Assessment Area (News Day – English). Touchstone has an 80% working interest while Heritage Petroleum Co Ltd has 20%.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Venezuela’s diesel suppliers asked the US not to cancel diesel swaps. Suppliers of Venezuela’s diesel imports urged the Trump administration to continue allowing their diesel-for-crude swaps (Platts – English). PDVSA has received 1.35 million barrels of diesel imported in nine shipments, including four from Italy’s Eni, three from Spain’s Repsol, and two from India’s Reliance.


OWTU is optimistic over the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery’s sale. The president of the Oilfields’ Workers Trade Union (OWTU) said they are optimistic that the sale of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery will be completed before the August 10 general election (Trinidad Express – English).


Jamaica’s gas stations are still working on its safety issues. After the fire at the Mandeville station that claimed one life, several stakeholders made pledges to carry out safety audits and new safety protocols. The Energy Ministry said the Petroleum Act was being reviewed and admitted not all gas stations were inspected annually (Jamaica Gleaner – English).


Citgo gained independence. The US refiner was forced to operate without its sponsor last year, modifying refineries or running more US crude and restoring relationships with other oil companies (Argus Media – English). Citgo’s largest refinery processes the lowest relative portion of heavy sour crude.


Venezuela sent no oil in June to India. In June, India did not import oil from Venezuela for the first time since 2009 (Economic Times – English). Reliance has obtained permission from the United States to resume imports from the OPEC member in exchange for diesel.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Think tank reevaluates Nicaragua’s natural gas project. New Fortress Energy’s plan to build a 300MW natural gas-powered plant in Nicaragua was evaluated by Funides, and the think tank recommended that the project not enter service until 2026 (BN Americas – English).


Venezuela may be the answer to Colombia’s natural gas needs. Colombia may be helped by Venezuela to meet its natural gas demand (BN Americas – English). Eni and Repsol would like to export gas to Colombia via pipeline from the Cardón IV.


The end of diesel swaps may hit Venezuela’s natural gas. The Venezuelan electrical and mechanical engineers association (AVIEM) is more concerned that a US cutoff of diesel swaps would end up driving down critical gas supply (Argus Media – English). For Repsol and Eni, the swap transactions are partly tied to their gas production from the Perla field.


Promigas obtained the environmental permits in Piura. The Colombian gas transporter Promigas obtained the approved environmental impact declarations to install natural gas infrastructure in Piura, Peru (BN Americas – English). The approvals are for a concession of Gases del Norte del Perú, controlled by Promigas’ subsidiary Quavii.



Electric Power & Renewables


The Dominican Republic is close to the renewables goal for 2025. According to the National Energy Commission (CNE), the Dominican Republic has an installed capacity of 4,921MW, 1,184MW of which belong to renewable energy. That is 24.1% of the generation matrix, adding up hydropower, wind, solar, and biomass (PV magazine – Spanish).


Nordex will supply turbines in Colombia. The German company will supply 41 turbines and a two-year service agreement with a possible extension for a wind project in Colombia (Renewables Now – English). Colombia currently has only one wind farm in operation.


Panamá will add 30MW of solar energy. Enertronica Santerno awarded a contract to provide 30MW of solar energy installed in Panamá (PV Magazine – Spanish). The power will be provided between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.


The CUC boosts utility-scale solar energy. According to the Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC), renewables such as large-scale solar plants should be the center of Cayman’s future energy mix (Cayman Compass – English). Questions by the Public Accounts Committee focused on energy costs.


The Dominican Republic will count on more electric vehicle charging stations. Centro Cuesta Nacional (CCN) announced a route of charging stations for electric vehicles from Punta Cana to Santiago in Nacional and Jumbo supermarkets (Dominican Today – English).



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 7th Geothermal Congress for Latin America & the Caribbean (GEOLAC) will be held September 15-17.


The 12th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum is scheduled for October 28-30.



Lateral Thinking


Ecopetrol and academia launched a cosmetic palm oil development initiative. Ecopetrol and the Industrial University of Santander and SENA launched a research and prototyping project to commercialize the use of Colombian palm oil in high-end cosmetic products (Finance Colombia – English).



Quote of the Week


“If only hearts

Came in the shape of stars

And could invoke the quality of starfish

To regenerate

A lost part

Once broken.”



– Kalilah Enríquez (1983), Belizean journalist and poet.



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