The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


August 24, 2020 edition–AES Panamá’s renewables; Guyana and Exxon’s agreement; and Venezuela’s production.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. AES Panamá will boost renewable energy development; El Salvador’s EDP will cut the ribbon on its gas unit by 2021; and Ventus is flying high in El Salvador.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Jamaica is closer to wheeling; Puerto Rico’s renewables industry expects the contracts to be approved; and the Bahamas’ oil exploration is under discussion.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago expects to resuscitate Point Lisas.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Global Witness urged Guyana to renegotiate Exxon’s agreement; Venezuela plans to restart production units; and Guyana canceled the crude tender.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Jamaica’s energy tender (New Energy Events – English); Trinidad & Tobago’s election (Reuters – English); and Costa Rica’s energy distribution (PV Magazine – Spanish).



Government & NGO


Colombia’s economy contracted by 15.7% in the second quarter. The Caribbean nation’s GDP fell 15.7% in the second quarter due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activity (El Economista – Spanish).


S&P affirms Bermuda’s A+ ratings. Standard & Poor’s affirmed the country’s A+ long-term sovereign credit and senior unsecured debt ratings ( – English). S&P considered the healthy current account surpluses and large liquid assets were sufficient to support Bermuda through an economic recovery next year.


The Dominican Republic’s exports fell 7.97% during the first semester. Total exports from the Dominican Republic fell 7.97% during the first half of the year, compared to the same period of 2019 (Dominican Republic – English). During the first half of this year, total exports reached US$4.5 billion, about US$390.22 million less than in the same period of 2019.


Trinidad & Tobago increased its measures against COVID-19. Trinidad and Tobago’s government will fight the spread of the coronavirus with tougher measures after the number of infections increased in August (Reuters – English). The new measures included the closure of beaches and places of worship.


The Dominican Republic will face a tough recovery. The Dominican Republic’s new president warned that the country faced stiff challenges from a struggling economy and a COVID-19 pandemic that has killed 1,450 people in the Caribbean nation (Reuters – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Global Witness urged Guyana to renegotiate Exxon’s agreement. The anti-corruption organization recommended the new Guyana government investigate and renegotiate Exxon’s oil license to ensure the funds needed to rebuild after the elections and the COVID-19 pandemic (CBC – English).


The Bahamas’ oil exploration is under discussion. The Bahamas Petroleum Company expects the extension to its license and associated drilling obligations to be made even longer given that the COVID-19 emergency continues (Tribune 242 – English). Environmentalists asked the government to “rescind” the extension granted to the Bahamas Petroleum Company’s license to drill for oil (Trinidad 242 – English).


Venezuela plans to restart production units. PDVSA is considering restarting another gasoline-producing unit at the CRP refining complex in two weeks to put an end to gasoline shortages in the country (Oil Price – English). Venezuela is currently producing gasoline from one unit at the Amuay refinery and another unit at the Cardon refinery.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The US seized 1.1 million barrels of Iranian fuel heading for Venezuela. The US government seized four Iranian gasoline cargoes destined for Venezuela. The Department of Justice said Iran’s navy “forcibly boarded an unrelated ship in an apparent attempt to recover the seized petroleum, but was unsuccessful” (Platts – English).


Trump is considering more sanctions on Venezuela. The US federal government may plan to impose more sanctions to cripple the Venezuelan government’s access to oil revenues (Oil Price – English). Washington is considering sanctioning swap deals between PDVSA and other energy companies.


Guyana canceled the crude tender. Guyana’s former government shortlisted 19 bidders to make technical and financial proposals to market the government’s share of Liza crude from the offshore Stabroek block (Argus Media – English). The new government canceled the tender, which was considered “unfair” to many companies that did not participate.


Trinidad & Tobago expects to resuscitate Point Lisas. The former energy minister welcomed the newly appointed minister, explaining the road ahead: resuscitate Point Lisas, restart the refinery, and reverse the slide in oil and natural gas output (News Day – English).


New reports confirm Haiti’s PetroCaribe’s scandal. According to investigations by Haiti’s Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes, more than $2 billion in petrodollars from Venezuela’s PetroCaribe petroleum-import finance project were pilfered over eight years by multiple Haitian governments (Miami Herald – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


AES Panamá will boost renewable energy development. The company issued bonds for US$1.3bn to boost the development of renewable energy and sell LNG (America Economia – Spanish). AES Panamá celebrated their results, receiving US$5.5bn in offers and US$400m solely from local Panamá investors.


The Panama Canal is recovering and may help LNG. Container transport between the US and Asia is recovering in the Panama Canal, but cruises no longer use it and LNG sales may take time to recover (E&N – Spanish). More than 3% of the world maritime commerce crosses the Panama Canal.


El Salvador’s EDP will cut the ribbon on its gas unit by 2021. Approximately 800 workers are making progress assembling the new LNG-powered generator in the Acajutla port (El Mundo – Spanish). The project will have a 368MW capacity, equivalent to 30% of the national demand.



Electric Power & Renewables


Guyana is bringing Amaila Falls hydro back to life. The hydropower project canceled by the previous administration in 2017 will be recovered along with the construction of the Kato hydropower project (Stabroek News – English). The 165 MW Amaila Falls Hydropower Plan (AFHP) was estimated to cost US$858.1m.


The Dominican Republic needs more power. Due to maintenance work, eight power plants are out of operation, stopping 682MW from entering the power grid (Dominican Today – English). As a consequence, electricity supply problems have worsened, and blackouts have affected several communities.


Ventus is flying high in El Salvador. Ventus installed the first wind generator of the new wind park in Metapán, the first of its kind in El Salvador (El Mundo – Spanish). The park will have 15 wind turbines, generating 3.6MW each.


Jamaica is closer to wheeling. Jamaica’s largest power consumers are closer to being allowed to supply their satellite operations with energy from their own power stations (New Energy Events – English). The wheeling rates are yet to be determined, and the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is reviewing JPS’ 2019 to 2023 rate review application.


Puerto Rico’s renewables producers expect the contracts to be okayed. The Association of Renewable Energy Producers (APER) defended the renegotiations of the power purchase and operation agreements with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) and suggested the delay in the approval of the contracts sends a negative message (Caribbean Business – English).


Haiti and Turkey partnered up to boost power. The Haitian and Turkish governments announced an energy agreement between the Caribbean nation and Karpowership, a company that builds and operates floating power plants (PR News Wire – English). The plants will end blackouts in areas including Cap Haïtien.



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


Venezuela’s coast will take 50 years to recover from the oil spill. According to researchers, coastline beaches and fragile ecosystems like mangroves and coral reefs could take more than half of a century to recover from the environmental impacts of a recent oil spill (Reuters – English).



Quote of the Week


“No one forgets his pain, that’s a lie. It’s buried there in memory and remains in you forever.”



– Manlio Argueta (1935), Salvadoran writer, critic, and novelist.



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