The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


August 23, 2021 edition–Jamaica’s renewables; Guyana and Suriname’s oil drilling; and Dominican natural gas vehicles.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America.

Nicaragua makes good progress on a natural gas plant; and Costa Rica’s presidential candidate is up for drilling.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuba’s oil production continues to fall; Jamaica boosts renewables; and the Dominican Republic will boost natural gas vehicles.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Aquaterra Energy will power up Trinidad’s offshore platform; VIEDA chose Siemens as an energy consultant; and the IMF expects a slow recovery in Antigua and Barbuda.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia takes advantage of the sun; Guyana and Suriname expect more oil drilling; and Colombia’s number of gas users keeps skyrocketing.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Colombia’s oil exploration needs (Hellenic Shipping News – English); Barbados’ electrical buses (Barbados Today – English); and the Dominican Republic’s natural gas price insurance (Dominican Today – English).



Government & NGO


The Dominican Republic’s remittances went through the roof… The Caribbean nation’s central bank reported remittances reached US$896.4m in July, a 40% growth compared to July 2019 remittances (US$256.1m) and a great increase compared to July 2020 remittances (US$68.7m) (Dominican Today – English).


…and its debt equals 54% of the GDP. After a year with many economic, health, justice, and tourism challenges, the Caribbean nation’s non-financial public sector debt was equal to 54% of the GDP (Dominican Today – English). The reason is the tax revenue crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.


The IMF expects a slow recovery in Antigua and Barbuda. The Caribbean nation suffered an estimated 17.3% contraction in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown (IMF – English). The economy is expected to contract by 1% in 2021 before recovering in the second half of the year.


Haiti’s earthquake caused more than 2,100 deaths. The death toll for the Caribbean nation’s earthquake keeps increasing, reaching 2,100 while more than 3,300 homes were destroyed (CNN – English). In towns near the epicenter, no central government support has arrived yet.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Colombia’s oil production goals conflict with violence zones. As Colombia’s oil production declines, oil-rich regions with the deadliest conflict zones in the country are being considered to expand petroleum output and infrastructure (Platts – English).


Guyana’s oil will boost decarbonization. According to the Caribbean nation’s Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, petroleum development will bring prosperity to the country, allowing other industries to flourish, including renewable and alternative energies (Platts – English). Jagdeo said “the world will continue to use fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.”


Cuba’s oil production keeps falling. The Caribbean nation will produce around 44,700 barrels per day in 2021, down by 6% from 2020 and 23% from 2014 (Argus Media – English). Cuba will import more crude and products in 2021 than it did in 2020 to meet demand of 160,000 barrels per day.


Guyana and Suriname expect more oil drilling. Both Caribbean nations expect oil majors to continue exploratory drilling in the next two years (Reuters – English). The reason is the recent discoveries made in Guyana and Suriname.


Costa Rica’s presidential candidate is up for drilling. The presidential candidate for Partido Nueva República said that there is solid evidence of oil and natural gas reserves in the country and that, considering the economic crisis, he does not plan to ban activities that could bring jobs and benefits to the country (El Mundo – Spanish).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Citgo got lucky after seven quarters. Citgo Petroleum Corp reported a second-quarter profit, a first in seven quarters, thanks to higher fuel exports (Reuters – English). Citgo is battling possible seizure by creditors seeking to collect on unpaid debts incurred by PDVSA and Venezuela.


The Dominican Republic froze fuel prices again. According to the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and MSMEs (MICM), fuel prices remained unchanged from August 14 through August 20 (Dominican Today – English). The MICM said that without frozen prices, LPG would have risen by RD$25, and premium and regular gasoline between RD$12 and RD$21.


Should US sanctions against Venezuela end? According to an analyst, the humanitarian crisis in the Caribbean nation, Maduro’s openness to negotiate, and the rise of armed groups may indicate a good time for the Biden administration to change its policy toward Venezuela (Oil Price – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Nicaragua makes good progress on a natural gas plant. Energy sector representatives visited Puerto Corinto, where the generation units for the New Fortress Energy’s plant are arriving (Energía Limpa Para Todos – Spanish). Construction work has progressed 45%.


Colombia’s number of gas users keeps skyrocketing. In the first quarter, natural gas users in the Caribbean nation reached 10,350,737, while 10 years ago there were just 1.9 million (Portafolio – Spanish). There are 12 projects in 363 municipalities to bring natural gas to 366,000 low-income families.


The Dominican Republic will boost natural gas vehicles. The Dominican Republic will change 25 diesel-powered vehicles to use natural gas as part of a pilot program to promote competition and reduce oil dependency (Diario Digital – Spanish). The program will start with the FENATRADO members.


Natural gas futures went up with weather changes. Natural gas futures prices recovered due to an increase in hot weather in the US (Natural Gas Intel – English). Tropical activity is also increasing, with disturbances passing near the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.



Electric Power & Renewables


Colombia takes advantage of the sun. MPCES and Akuo Energy launched the construction of a 26.55MWp solar PV park in Colombia (Renewables Now – English) (PV Magazine – Spanish). Enel X will install and operate 13 solar systems in the headquarters of eight Colombian companies (PV Magazine – Spanish).


Ecopetrol is working on its energy transition. The state-owned company signed a US$3.6bn deal with the Finance Ministry to purchase Interconexión Eléctrica SA, or ISA (Rigzone – English). Ecopetrol aims to cut carbon emissions, invest in renewable energy and add new business lines as the world moves away from hydrocarbons.


Jamaica boosts renewables. The Caribbean nation plans to generate 320MW with renewables to diversify the energy sector (PV Tech – English). The government’s goal is to add 1.6GW of additional capacity to reduce energy prices and decrease dependence on international oil prices.


Trinidad & Tobago has a bright solar future. The Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Project Team at the UNDP announced 12 finalist sites chosen for the installations of a EUR2.4m project that includes solar panels to increase climate resistance (Energy Now – English).


VIEDA chose Siemens as an energy consultant. After the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (VIEDA) released a request for proposal for an Energy Sector Analysis Consultant, the VIEDA Board of Directors approved the start of contract negotiations with the selected bidder, Siemens Power Technologies International (St. Thomas Source – English).


Aquaterra Energy will power up Trinidad’s offshore platform. Aquaterra Energy completed the design for a renewable-powered offshore platform for DeNovo Energy Limited. The platform is part of the development activity for the Zandolie field in the Gulf of Paria (Energy Now – 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 8th Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held on September 8-10.


The Geothermal Direct Use: Global Forum & Tour is scheduled for September 27-29.


The Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum will be held on October 27-28.



Lateral Thinking


What would happen to Trinidad & Tobago assets with BHP’s gas merger? With the announcement of the merger between Woodside Petroleum and the BHP Group, local energy experts anticipate Trinidad and Tobago’s assets will likely be sold (Newsday – English). The companies plan to “combine their respective oil and gas portfolios by an all-stock merger.”



Quote of the Week


“Árbol gigante y bello que juega con las nubes:

su cabellera densa, peinada por la brisa,

esconderá el arrullo de la paloma viuda

y el primor delicado de la frágil orquídea.”


“Giant and beautiful tree that plays with the clouds:

Its thick hair, combed by the wind,

Will hide the murmur of a widow dove

And the delicate sight of the fragile orchid.”



– Claudia Lars (1899-1974), Salvadoran poet.




We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or consequences of mergers to


Tell your friends and colleagues about the Weekly Brief! They can sign up for a free one-month trial here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]