The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


December 2, 2019 edition– Panama’s distribution; T&T gas; and Cuba’s sun.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Panama is looking for power distributors; and the IMF and Fitch warned Nicaragua.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. BPC will begin drilling next year; Wärtsilä and EGE Haina will transform Dominican Republic’s Quisqueya 2 power plant; and Cuba is working on its sun.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Ryder Scott report pledges 10 years of gas reserves in Trinidad & Tobago; Anguilla started a mobile energy storage pilot project; and Heritage lost and found 17 motors in Trinidad & Tobago.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Ecopetrol plans to boost production in 2020; Venezuela got bad news from a US appeals court; and Canacol is selling LNG in Colombia.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in ECLAC’s warning about Latin America’s gas (Spanish); and NuStar’s sale of a storage terminal (English).



Political Economy


The IMF and Fitch warned Nicaragua. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that the Bank of Nicaragua faces difficulties recovering 18% of its credit portfolio (Spanish). Fitch Ratings improved Nicaragua’s economic outlook from negative to stable but expects the economy to contract by 4.3% in 2019 (Spanish).


The ECLAC said six million will fall into poverty in the region. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, this year six million Latin Americans will fall into the vulnerability and exclusion of extreme poverty, a tendency that has been increasing in recent years (Spanish). The reasons are weak regional economic performance, the lack of effective social programs, and precarious jobs.


The IMF visited Haiti. The IMF explained that the political, economic, and social crisis that Haiti faces has no precedent, and as a consequence, growth for 2019 fiscal year is expected to be at -1.2% (English). Inflation increased to above 20% at the end of September.


Cuba pressured the US embassy. Cuba’s foreign minister accused the US of violating the 2015 agreement re-establishing diplomatic relations after decades of interfering in Cuba’s internal affairs (English). The minister accused the embassy in Havana of engaging in “illegal activity” that tried to “attack” the constitutional order.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Ryder Scott report pledges 10 years of gas reserves in Trinidad & Tobago. The Ryder Scott gas audit showed that natural gas production increased from 1.14 tcf of gas to 1.261 tcf of gas in 2018. Based on current production and no additional gas discoveries, the country has 10 years of gas reserves (English).


Heritage lost and found 17 motors in Trinidad & Tobago. Heritage Petroleum Company Limited was robbed and later found 17 motors belonging to the company and its lease operators. The motors were used to power pumping jacks in oil and gas extraction (English).


BPC will begin drilling next year. The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) will start its first exploration well in 2020. The company has signed an agreement with BakerHughes to provide equipment for the first exploration well and is working on a rig contract with Seadrill (English).


Venezuela’s oil will take a while to recover. While the US extended Chevron and four US oil companies’ waivers to continue operating in Venezuela (English), the US State Department’s special representative for Venezuela said the recovery of Venezuela’s oil sector will take years.


Ecopetrol plans to boost production in 2020. Colombia’s state-controlled company plans to invest between US$4.5bn and US$5.5bn in 2020 to reach 750,000 to 760,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day next year (English). Ecopetrol’s target production for 2019 was between 720,000 and 730,000 boe/d.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Jamaica will need more LNG thanks to New Fortress’ new plant. LNG demand is increasing thanks to a new 150MW LNG-powered plant in Jamaica. New Fortress plans to increase its Jamaican contracts from 600,000 gallons of gas per day to 1.2 million gallons daily by 2020 (English).


Venezuela got bad news from a US appeals court. A US appeals court denied Venezuela’s request to reconsider the ruling allowing a PDVSA creditor to go after Citgo (English). The Trump administration has tried to block PDVSA’s losing control of Citgo as it could affect the interim administration of Juan Guaidó.


US sanctioned Cuba’s Corporación Panamericana over its Venezuelan oil trade. The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Corporación Panamericana for acting as an intermediary for Cubametales, which is already subject to US sanctions (English). Corporación Panamericana replaced Cubametales in “various energy deals.” US sanctions have also killed Venezuela’s exports to China (English).


Canacol is selling LNG in Colombia. The Canadian company that drills for natural gas in Colombia started selling LNG to supply Colombian consumers (English). The company installed four small natural gas liquefaction modules.



Renewables & Electricity


Anguilla started a mobile energy storage pilot project. Anguilla is part of a mobile energy storage pilot that includes a containerized battery from Gridspan Energy. The 125kW mobile battery system can be deployed to sites and be working in 15 minutes (English).


Panama is looking for power distributors. Panama re-launched a tender for generators or self-generators to assist with the supply of firm capacity and energy to Edemet, Edechi, and ENSA. Offers are due on December 19, and the contract will start in April 2020 (English).


The Punta Catalina power plant is up for sale. The Dominican Republic will sell a 50% stake in the Punta Catalina power plant for US$2.5bn (English). The tender will be managed by Guggenheim Securities in January 2020, and the Dominican Industries Association will keep an eye on the sale (English).


Wärtsilä and EGE Haina will transform the Quisqueya 2 power plant. The technology group Wärtsilä and Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Haina signed a commissioning agreement to convert the Quisqueya 2 power plant to use natural gas (English). The conversion will reduce the power plant’s environmental impact.


Cuba is working on its sun. The Mayajigua solar park will double its capacity from 2.5MW to 5MW (Spanish). Cuba plans to develop a research center on photovoltaic issues to prepare students in solar studies (Spanish).



Old School Social


Events in the world beyond your screen—go see and be seen!


S&P Global Platts 20th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference is scheduled for January 29-31 at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, in Puerto Rico. The leading energy conference in the Caribbean gathers global professionals to discuss regional trends, including power finance and investment, fuel options, IMO, microgrids, infrastructure, natural gas, and much more.



Lateral Thinking


Ancient hurricanes can be read in Caribbean blue holes. In the Bahamian archipelago, South Andros Island’s ethereal submarine sinkholes contain ancient sediment sandwiches whose layers show the passages of powerful hurricanes (English). Researchers have extracted some of these towers of sediment to compare past and present storms.



Quote of the Week


“No dejes apagar el entusiasmo, virtud tan valiosa como necesaria; trabaja, aspira, tiende siempre hacia la altura.”


“Do not shut down enthusiasm, a valuable and necessary virtue; work, aim for, always tend to the sky.”



– Rubén Darío (1867-1916), Nicaraguan poet.




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