The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


August 30, 2021 edition–Honduras’ solar; the Dominican refinery; and Trinidad & Tobago’s LNG production.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Panama Canal’s maintenance will affect transit capacity; and Honduras will rely on solar with storage.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. PDVSA gave up Dominican refinery shares for defaulted bonds; Challenger Energy is looking for a partner and a license extension in the Bahamas; and Evergo plans to close 2021 with 500 electric charging stations.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago’s LNG production went down; Bermuda’s airport will soon have a solar farm; and Barbados has high hopes for the tourism sector.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. CGX drilled Kawa-1 offshore Guyana; Voltalia has high hopes for Guyana; and TGI may not get into Colombia’s Pacific LNG project.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Nicaragua’s natural gas plant (Energía Limpia XXI – Spanish); the Dominican Republic’s electric vehicles (Diario Digital – Spanish); and natural gas futures (Natural Gas Intel – English).



Government & NGO


Caribbean nations will make good use of IMF’s SDRs. The Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) could benefit Caribbean countries through the pandemic (Loop News – English). The IMF is encouraging voluntary channeling of some SDRs from countries with strong external positions to countries most in need.


Barbados has high hopes for the tourism sector. The Caribbean nation had 10,000 air passenger arrivals in July, suggesting a positive turnout for the industry ahead of the 2021-22 winter season (Caribbean National Weekly – English). The BTMI said the United States was the major contributor with a 43.3% market share.


Investors are after the Dominican Republic’s sustainable tourism. A group of private investors will relaunch the sustainable tourism project in the Loma Guaconejo scientific reserve (Dominican Today – English). The services will include accommodation, food, and the production of organic cocoa and honey.


The Dominican Republic sent humanitarian aid to Haiti. Three Dominican Navy ships arrived at the Jeremie port with tons of humanitarian aid to help the area hit by the earthquake (Dominican Today – English). The vessels are part of a fleet of five ships sent with 60 tons of food and medicine.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana will announce a new crude oil marketer. The Caribbean nation will pick its new crude oil marketer from a list of 15 companies that sent bids (Platts – English). The Ministry of Natural Resources said it wanted a crude marketer that had experience in crude oil marketing and trading.


CGX drilled Kawa-1 offshore Guyana. CGX Energy spudded the Kawa-1 exploration well, and it is expected to reach total depth in the first half of December (OGJ – English). The well targets light oil in combination structural-stratigraphic traps in large Santonian and Campanian slope fan complexes.


Challenger Energy is looking for a partner and a license extension in the Bahamas. The company known as the Bahamas Petroleum Company is seeking an extension for its offshore blocks license in the Bahamas after drilling an offshore well this year and failing to find commercial quantities of oil (OE Digital – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


PDVSA gave up refinery shares for defaulted bonds… The Caribbean nation’s state-owned company offered a 49% stake in a Dominican refinery in exchange for some of its defaulted bonds (Reuters – English). Venezuela’s government sees the swap as a possible model for future deals (Reuters – English).


…and the Dominican Republic is happy. The Finance Minister said that the refinery had “a shackle” that hindered its advance (Dominican Today – English). The reason is the sanctions that the US applied to PDVSA, which for the last 11 years owned 49% of the refinery’s shares.


Venezuela’s crude stacks up in Singapore. Oil stored in ships accumulated off Singapore, Malaysia, and China, including Venezuelan crude, due to a crackdown in China on private crude oil processors that has blunted purchases and disrupted flows (Bloomberg – English).


Venezuela punished dealmakers in oil for food swap. Venezuela signed a deal with a company named Supraquimic to exchange 6 million barrels of crude worth nearly US$260m in exchange for food for a government program (Reuters – English). The arrangement was broken when PDVSA accused two executives linked to the company with embezzling the proceeds.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Trinidad & Tobago’s LNG production decreased. According to the Energy Ministry, a shortage of natural gas and soft global demand affected the Caribbean nation’s LNG production, reducing it to 1.1mn m3 in May, 19% less than April and the lowest monthly output in 18 years (Argus Media – English).


Flex LNG bet on itself. The Bermuda-based company has purchased 80,000 of the company’s own common stock (Royal Gazette – English). Flex LNG said it owns a total of 980,000 of its own shares, corresponding to 1.81% of the company’s share capital.


Panama Canal’s maintenance will affect transit capacity. The Panama Canal’s Miraflores Locks has scheduled maintenance from August 29 to September 10, and it could severely impact canal capacity and prolong transit delays after completion (Platts – English). Current delays for tankers looking to transit from the Caribbean Sea through to the Pacific are around four days without pre-booking.


TGI may not get into Colombia’s Pacific LNG project. Transportadora de Gas Internacional (TGI) has doubts on its participation in a bidding process for the Pacific LNG project due to construction and operational risks (BN Americas – English). The company pointed to the worry concerning force majeure related to the construction and operation of the project.



Electric Power & Renewables


Voltalia has high hopes for Guyana. The French producer said its Kourou biomass plant in Guyana has been qualified under a program for the enforcement of forest certification (PEFC) (Renewables Now – English). The Kourou power plant is using waste wood from local sawmills and urban and industrial land clearing activities as feedstock.


Honduras will rely on solar with storage. The National Company of Electric Energy (ENEE) is planning the construction of micro-grids based on solar energy with storage in the Guanaja island and in Brus Lagunas (PV Magazine – Spanish). The installation in Brus Laguna will have 400kW capacity and in Guanaja, 600kW.


Bermuda’s airport will soon have a solar farm. According to the Director of Energy, the 6MW solar farm is “very close” to being finished (Royal Gazette – English). The farm was expected to be up and running by the end of 2020.


Evergo plans to close 2021 with 500 electric charging stations. A subsidiary of InterEnergy Group, Evergo, plans to close the year with 500 stations in the Caribbean nation (Dominican Today – English). In 2018, there were 50 registered electric vehicles and today there are more than 3,000.



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


Trinidad & Tobago and Canada are into hydrogen. The Caribbean nation and Canada will consider collaboration and cooperation in the energy sector, including considering Canada’s expertise with hydrogen as a power source (Guardian – English). Trinidad & Tobago plans to strengthen the relationship with Canada in the areas of technology transfer and energy cooperation



Quote of the Week


“Papiamentu is our soul. The language is the only thing that distinguishes us from other nations.”



– Frank Martinus Arion (1936-2015), Curacaoan writer.




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