The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


August 17, 2020 edition–Costa Rica’s power; Cuba’s fuel; and Guyana’s drilling.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Costa Rica halted distributed generation and said no to waste-to-energy; and Honduras was shaken by an earthquake.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuba owes Venezuela US$230m for fuel; Jamaica plans a 500MW energy tender in 2021; and The Bahamas and Shell’s soap opera continues.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago boosts fuel wholesalers; Méthanor will invest in Martinique’s solar; and The Virgin Islands received a solar tree.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Guyana announced new oil and gas sector measures; Naturgas defends investigated companies; and Colombia’s PV pipeline reached 8.8GW.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Dominican Republic’s power reform (Dominican Today – English); Venezuela’s nearly zero production (Oil Price – English); and Grid Solutions’ power project in El Salvador (Ensegundos – Spanish).



Government & NGO


The Bahamas will boost competitiveness and environmental resiliency. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a US$200m loan to promote competitiveness and environmental resiliency in The Bahamas by supporting the continuity of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) (IADB – English). The goal is to modernize the institutional and legal framework to protect natural resources.


The ECLAC forecasts a 23% fall in foreign trade. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said the region will experience a sharp drop of 23% in foreign trade as a result of the economic effects arising from the COVID-19 crisis (Cepal – English).


Trinidad & Tobago PM claimed victory in the election. Prime Minister Keith Rowley claimed victory for his party in the general election, securing a second term despite concern over COVID-19, migration, and recession in the country (Reuters – English).


Honduras was shaken by an earthquake. A 5.7 earthquake with its epicenter in the Bay Islands of Honduras was felt in the Honduran tourist location and as far away as Quintana Roo, Mexico (Reuters – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana announced new oil and gas sector measures. The Caribbean country’s government will establish a Petroleum Commission to ensure the oil and gas sector is not affected by political interference (The West Indian Online – English). The goal is to ensure that all the revenues from the sector are accounted for.


The Stena Carron drilling ship reached Guyana. The drilling ship Stena Carron arrived at the Tanager-1 well in the Kaieteur block and will start drilling operations immediately (World Energy Trade – Spanish). The block is next to the Stabroek Block created in 2015.


Cuba owes Venezuela US$230m for fuel. According to analysts, the fuel sent to the Caribbean island averaged 32,147 barrels per day, or 5.6% of Venezuela’s exports (Diario Las Americas – Spanish). Venezuela’s Foreign Relations head said Cuba has received more than US$40bn in 20 years.


Guyana is reviewing the FDP with Canada. The Guyana Government asked Canada for assistance in reviewing the Payara Field Development Plan (FDP) before awarding approval to ExxonMobil (Caribbean Business Report – English) (Upstream Online – English). ExxonMobil has been pressing to have its permits approved.


Venezuela’s oil production plummeted. The Caribbean nation’s crude oil production is now 100,000-200,000 barrels per day and decreasing (OGJ – English). Production was approximately 650,000 barrels per day in the same period in 2019 and was 2 million barrels per day in 2017.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Trinidad & Tobago boosts fuel wholesalers. Trinidad & Tobago’s government announced an increase on the margins for gasoline for fuel wholesalers (Trinidad Express – English). The announcement was made by the Minister of Energy Franklin Khan during the opening of NP’s newest service station.


Venezuela’s oil spill became a political debate. The Caribbean nation’s congress opened an investigation into an oil spill that polluted palm-lined beaches along the Venezuelan coast (Reuters – English). Venezuelan environmental groups accused authorities of barring them from participating in the cleanup (Reuters – English).


How did Venezuela lose three oil supertankers to PetroChina? As a result of US sanctions, the Caribbean nation lost three supertankers to PetroChina because they are reluctant to carry Venezuelan oil and face sanctions (Economic Times – English). The original venture between PetroChina and PDVSA was to ship Venezuelan oil to China and some other export destinations.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombia will boost natural gas subsidies. The Mines and Energy Minister published a bill to increase the natural gas subsidy for low-income homes by 10% (Valora Analitik – Spanish). The increase will take place as long as the health emergency lasts.


Naturgas defends investigated companies. The Colombian Association of Natural Gas (Naturgas) defended the natural gas distribution companies accused of billing irregularities (LA FM – Spanish). The four companies plan to clarify any doubts regarding their services.


EGE Haina expects big things this year. The generating company expects a growth plan of 1,400MW of wind, solar, and natural gas generation (Listin Diario – Spanish). EGE Haina plans to invest more than US$1bn by 2030 in wind and solar plants.


New Fortress Energy is doing good. New Fortress reported doubling its revenues in the June quarter to US$76m thanks to the power facility at Jamalco (Jamaica Gleaner – English). Approximately US$45m of its quarterly revenue was made selling LNG in Jamaica.



Electric Power & Renewables


Costa Rica halted distributed generation and said no to waste-to-energy. The Costa Rican Chamber of Distributed Generation (CCGD) warned that the government is stopping the law project for distributed power resources (PV Magazine – Spanish). Costa Rica will not provide any land to build a waste incinerator to generate energy (New Energy Events – English).


Jamaica plans a 500MW energy tender in 2021. By the beginning of 2021, Jamaica plans to develop 500MW of new generation to bring the price of electricity down (New Energy Events – English). Jamaica intends to generate half of its energy from renewables by 2037.


The Bahamas and Shell’s soap opera continues. Bahamas Power & Light’s (BPL) chairman said he is devoted to “getting the best possible deal” for its new power plant (Tribune 242 – English). A Cabinet minister pledged BPL “will not sell the Bahamian people short” (Tribune 242 – English).


Cuba plans to burn more local crude for power. Cuba is rehabilitating a fifth of its installed power-generating capacity to burn domestic heavy crude (Argus Media – English). The plants to be converted by year’s end include 260MW Felton in Holguin province, 100MW Mariel east of Havana, and 95MW in Santiago de Cuba.


Colombia’s PV pipeline reached 8.8GW. The Mining and Energy Planning Unit (UPME) said that across all technologies, there are 385 projects totaling 15GW at different stages of development (PV-Magazine – English). The projects are four biomass plants, 17 wind, 93 hydro, 271 photovoltaic, and seven thermal projects.


Méthanor will invest in Martinique’s solar. Méthanor announced the investment of EUR804,000 in the La Broue solar park (Next-Finance – French). The project will include 19.2MWh of storage capacity, and the construction started in June this year. The total cost of the project is estimated at EUR9.3m.



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 Virgin Islands received a very special tree. The government of the Virgin Islands received an organic Photovoltaics Tree (OPTree), or Solar Tree, to help with its Green Energy initiative (BVI – English). The tree was donated and installed last month.



Quote of the Week


“The vast space sparkling with stars seemed to want to become part of my body.”



– René Depestre (1926), Haitian poet and former communist activist.



We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or new trees to


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