The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


December 7, 2020 edition–Panamá’s solar; Touchstone’s discovery; and Colombia’s natural gas vehicular stations.


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America.

Nicaragua is looking for fuel beyond Venezuela; Enel will power up Ciudad del Saber, Panamá; and Guatemala will receive Mexico’s power.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The JUTC is happy with its LNG buses; Enel X and Eaton will power up Puerto Rico; and Cuba will bet on renewables.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. The BPC has big plans for Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname; Touchstone Exploration was lucky at Cascadura Deep-1 onshore Trinidad; and NIA is reviewing Nevis’ geothermal arrangement.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Venezuela sent direct oil shipments to China again; CGX postponed its offshore Guyana exploration; and Terpel plans 244 natural gas stations.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Colombia’s transition toward gas (Dinero – Spanish); Cayman Island’s LNG (Cayman News Service – English); and the Dominican Republic’s power pact (Diario Libre – Spanish).



Government & NGO


S&P trusts Guatemala’s economy. The international rating agency confirmed Guatemala’s rating as stable and eliminated the credit rating CreditWatch “BB-“ (DCA – Spanish). S&P believes the Central American country will pay its debt obligations entirely and reassured its investors.


The Dominican Republic is studying its 2021 budget. President Alejandro Giammattei met representatives of different associations, research centers, and think tanks to discuss proposals to boost national education, tourism, agriculture, and productive infrastructure (DCA – Spanish).


The BCRD trusts the economic recovery. The Central Bank of the Dominican Republic (BCRD) reported that October 2020 shows a year-on-year variation of -4.3%, an improvement of 25.5%, seven times less than the highest critical point of the crisis observed in April (-29.8%) (Dominican Today – English).


The IMF welcomed The Bahamas’ COVID-19 response. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the pandemic took a significant human, social, and economic toll on The Bahamas, but the authorities mounted a rapid emergency response to support the economy (IMF – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


CGX postponed its offshore Guyana exploration. CGX Energy Inc. rescheduled exploration activities in the Corentyne block, offshore Guyana. The government of the Caribbean nation is expected to extend the deadline to drill the next well by a year, to November 27, 2021 (OGJ – English).


The BPC has big plans for Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname. The Bahamas Petroleum PLC expects to produce 2,500 barrels per day at an extraction cost of less than US$20/bbl after a 2021 work program in Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname (OGJ – English).


Touchstone Exploration was lucky at Cascadura Deep-1 onshore Trinidad. Touchstone Exploration encountered significant hydrocarbon accumulations at the Cascadura Deep-1 well based on drilling and wireline log data (Energy Now – English). The company said that wireline logs indicated natural gas pay totaling approximately 1,315 net feet.


COVID-19 hit Colombia’s offshore gas exploration. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed oil and gas auctions that saw little interest from companies struggling to pay the bills (Upstream Online – English). Colombia expected drilling to start in 2020 due to contracts signed over the past two years.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Nicaragua is looking for fuel beyond Venezuela. Since December 2018, Nicaragua has not received fuel from Venezuela, and the US, Mexico, and Ecuador have filled that void (La Prensa – Spanish). From 2011 to 2013, Nicaragua imported Venezuelan fuel worth more than US$1bn per year.


Venezuela’s oil exports almost doubled in November… Venezuela’s oil exports almost doubled in November compared to the previous month as new customers increased purchases from PDVSA amid US sanctions (Market Screener – English). A total of 24 cargoes left Venezuelan waters last month.


…and Venezuela sent direct oil shipments to China again. Despite US sanctions, Venezuela restarted direct shipments of crude oil to China (Oil Price – English). PDVSA sold oil to China via ship-to-ship transfers at sea. China is the biggest buyer of Venezuelan crude, as it is of Iranian crude.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


The JUTC is happy with its LNG buses. The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has a diversified fleet after running some buses on LNG for almost a year (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The LNG to run the buses was provided by New Fortress Energy, which has pumped $400 million into the natural gas pilot.


Colombia used more natural gas. Colombia’s clients consumed 931 GBtud in the last week of November, a 3.21% increase compared to the previous week (Valora Analitik – Spanish). Thermal generation has increased 9.2%, and the demand for natural gas for cars went up 5.3%.


Terpel plans 244 natural gas stations. Terpel plans to build 244 natural gas vehicular stations under the brand Gazel, becoming the biggest distribution net (DF – Spanish). The first phase of expansion will be between 2020 and 2021, installing new pumps in 10 stations.


The Cayman Islands is debating LNG. The Department of Environment believes the proposal to build an LNG depot in Bodden Town should be considered at odds with the National Energy Policy target of generating 70% of local power from renewables by 2037 (Cayman News Service – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


Guatemala will receive Mexico’s power. Mexico and Guatemala’s power authorities signed an agreement to acquire cheaper energy when needed (DCA – Spanish). The contract could be expanded to 120MW and the purchase could be inverted (Guatemala could sell power to Mexico).


AES cut the ribbon on El Salvador’s solar plant. AES El Salvador invested US$5m in the Opico Power PV park with 12,834 photovoltaic panels, producing sufficient power to fulfill the annual demand of 11,000 homes (List – English). The plant will help AES to balance out 2,371 tons of CO2 discharges annually.


Enel will power up Ciudad del Saber, Panamá. Enel Green Power will provide 4,000 MWh of renewable power for Ciudad del Saber over 10 years (PV Magazine – Spanish). Panamá plans for renewables to provide 30% of its power (PV Magazine – Spanish).


Cuba will bet on renewables… Cuba’s National Economic and Social Development Plan for 2030 includes the addition of 755MW of biomass-fired power plants, 700MW of solar farms, 633MW of wind power, and 56MW of hydroelectric generation (Power Mag – English). Karpowership and Cuba are discussing the installation of additional thermal power barges (Argus Media – English).


…and so does Barbuda. Engineers at the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) and the Ministry of Energy are finishing up a hybrid energy plant for the sister isle of Barbuda by 2021 (Antigua Observer – English). The goal is to reduce the Caribbean island’s dependence on fossil fuels.


NIA is reviewing Nevis’ geothermal arrangement. The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) is renegotiating its geothermal arrangement with Nevis Renewable Energy International (NREI) that would see consumers on Nevis paying less for the renewable energy when it comes on stream (The St. Kitts Nevis Observer – English).


Enel X and Eaton will power up Puerto Rico. Enel X and Eaton will partner on a solar storage microgrid in Puerto Rico (Green Tech Media – English). The microgrid will provide backup power at Eaton’s circuit breaker factory with a 5MW solar array and 1.1MW/2.2MWh of battery storage.



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 Island Energy Transformation Training Series is scheduled for December 8.


The Island Resiliency Action Challenge will be held December 17.



Lateral Thinking


The IDB will boost Colombia’s energy efficiency. Colombia will help improve small and medium-sized enterprise productivity and energy efficiency with an US$8m credit approved by the Inter-American Development Bank to the Banco de Comercio Exterior de Colombia (IADB – English).



Quote of the Week


“No hay cicatriz, por brutal que parezca, que no encierre belleza.”


“There is no scar, as brutal as it may seem, that does not enclose beauty.”



– Piedad Bonnett (1951), Colombian poet, playwright, and novelist.


We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or energy efficiency tips to


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