The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


August 10, 2020 edition–Guatemala’s hydro; Dominica’s geo; and Staatsolie’s farm in.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Grid Solutions will power up El Salvador; Enel will power up Guatemala with water; and Guatemala will maintain its power tariffs next quarter.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. United Oil & Gas will develop Verdana’s Walton Morant; changes are coming to the Dominican Republic’s energy sector; and New Fortress has high hopes for LNG sales in Jamaica.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago had good news on reserves; and Dominica may have to say good-bye to its geothermal project.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Ecopetrol will focus on natural gas fields; Staatsolie is considering farming in to Total and Apache’s discovery; and Venezuela’s rig count fell to zero.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Nicaragua’s natural gas-powered plant (BN Americas – English); the Dominican Republic’s renewable goals (PV Magazine – Spanish); and Central America’s reactivation plans (El Mundo – Spanish).



Government & NGO


Cuba and the Basque Country signed an economic agreement. Cuba and the Basque Country signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen economic cooperation ties (Caribbean National Weekly – English). The new agreement replaces the Basque Strategy for Cuban Development Cooperation approved in 2007.


Suriname will not spend the benefits from its last oil discovery lavishly. The president of the Caribbean nation warned against spending without control after oil companies predict the country could receive US$50bn in revenue from three major oil finds in the next two decades (Caribbean Business Report – English).


The Caribbean prepares for hurricane season. Caribbean nations are adapting storm shelters to prevent the COVID-19 spread and stock up on supplies (Reuters – English). The combination of both disasters, COVID-19 and hurricanes, is the perfect storm feared by the Caribbean and Central America.


ECLAC warned the region’s economy will suffer. According to the UN Economic Commission for the region, the economy of Latin America and the Caribbean could contract 9.1% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic (Reuters – English). The number of unemployed people in the region is forecasted to increase to 44 million.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana got gas and oil royalty payments. The Guyana government received US$3.6m as part of the second payment for Guyana’s oil and gas royalties (Jamaica Observer – English). The payment was deposited in the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) with the US$90m already in the NRF.


United Oil & Gas will develop Jamaica’s Walton Morant. United Oil & Gas was awarded approval from the Jamaican government to develop the Walton Morant license (OGJ – English). The initial exploration period was extended for 18 months and the license covers an area of 22,400 sq. km.


Trinidad & Tobago had good news on reserves. The Energy and Energy Industries Minister announced that the crude oil-proved reserves in Trinidad & Tobago increased by 10.3% in 2018 to 220.1 million barrels from 199.5 million (Energy Now – English). Probable reserves rose by 16.6%.


Ecopetrol will focus on natural gas fields. The Colombian state-owned company will focus on the development of domestic natural gas fields according to its three-year business plan (BN Americas – English) (La República – Spanish). The new plan includes investments between US$11bn and US$13bn for the next three years.


Staatsolie is considering farming in to Total and Apache’s discovery. Suriname’s state-owned oil company may plan farming into an offshore oil block where Apache and Total announced a third major discovery (Reuters – English). Staatsolie has the right to a stake of up to 20% in Block 58.


Venezuela’s rig count fell to zero. According to Baker Hughes, the Caribbean country no longer has any operational oil rigs after Chevron suspended its operations in Venezuela (Oil Price – English). The last time Venezuela had no oil rigs was before 1914.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


LPG will be cheaper in El Salvador. The subsidized value of the cylinder will fall a cent in August (El Mundo – Spanish). International prices of oil derivatives like propane and butane experienced mixed tendencies in the July market hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.


US companies may take oil tankers as Venezuela’s debt payment. O-I Glass Inc is considering seizing an oil tanker owned by Venezuela to collect part of a $500 million arbitration award it won after the 2010 expropriation of two manufacturing plants (Reuters – English).


The Bahamas’ gas stations want a margin increase. Petroleum sellers want between a 45% and 50% margin increase if gas stations are to remain open once the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end (Tribune 242 – English). Gas station owners are in a volume business due to the price controls imposed by the government.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Grid Solutions will power up El Salvador. Elecnor awarded Grid Solutions the supply of power transformers and gas-encapsulated substations to connect a new natural gas plant of 378MW with the national grid (Ensegundos – Spanish). These would be the first isolated gas-encapsulated substations installed in the country.


New Fortress has high hopes for LNG sales in Jamaica. The company expects a market recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. It also expects the gas-fired power plant in Jamaica that serves a bauxite facility to add 100,000 gallons of LNG sales volume per day (Natural Gas Intel – English).


The natural gas sector will create 20,000 jobs. The Colombian Association of Natural Gas in Colombia identified 123 projects worth US$2bn for the development and growth of the natural gas sector, generating nearly 20,000 jobs (Dinero – Spanish).



Electric Power & Renewables


Enel will power up Guatemala with water. Enel Green Power secured a power purchase agreement (PPA) to supply a total of 1.26 TWh of hydropower in Guatemala over 10 years (Renewables Now – English) (El Periódico – Spanish). The company signed a contract with Comercializadora de Energía para el Desarrollo.


Dominica may have to say good-bye to its geothermal project. In 2019, the tender for the construction of a geothermal power plant was opened and received three birds that were significantly over budget (NTL Trust – English). The estimated cost exceeds the available funds despite the estimates of the World Bank, European Union, and SIDS DOCK.


Changes are coming to the Dominican Republic’s energy sector… The Dominican Electricity Industry Association (ADIE) showed support for reforms in the sector directed toward efficiency and sustainability (Dominican Today – English). Experts agreed the country could be rich in clean energy shortly (Dominican Today – English).


…and power demand is increasing. Energy demand recovered since the end of the COVID-19 lockdown (Dominican Today – English). The gross generation of electrical energy in April was 1,428.11 GWh, 21% below the result registered in June, with an economy operating with slight restrictions.


Guatemala will maintain its power tariffs next quarter. The National Commission of Electric Energy (CNEE) told distributors that power tariffs will remain without major changes until October 31 (El Periódico – Spanish). The same subsidy approved in March will be applied.



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


The CDB is boosting solar PV certifications. Approximately 150 women and men are been trained to install PV systems in an international certification program in the Eastern Caribbean under the Sustainable Energy for the Eastern Caribbean (SEEC) Program of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) (Caribank – English).



Quote of the Week


“Men have the grand vision, and they pass it on to somebody else to put into practice. Women follow the details more, they want to know that it is being put into practice.”



– Eugenia Charles (1919-2005), Dominican politician who was Prime Minister of Dominica from July 21, 1980, to June 14, 1995.



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