The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


December 14, 2020 edition–LNG tankers; Cuba’s barges; and ONGC’s discovery.


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Panamá may add more LNG tanker slots; Neoen cut the ribbon on its solar storage plant in El Salvador; and Panamá needed more power this year.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuba will install additional thermal power barges; BPC and environmental groups brought their fight to court; and Prepa is concerned with Luma’s hiring process.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Aruba is giving its refinery a makeover; Trinidad & Tobago will not shut down the Atlantic LNG Train One; and Piarco International Airport is looking for solar generation.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. ONGC found oil in Colombia; Guyana and Suriname will partner for oil discoveries; and Iran sent more tankers than ever to Venezuela.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Enel X and Eaton’s partnership (Green Tech Media – English); the Cayman Islands’ LNG discussions (Cayman News Service – English); and Colombia’s gas demand (Valora Analitik – Spanish).



Government & NGO


Colombia will use US$5.4bn of its IMF credit line. The Caribbean nation will use US$5.4bn, close to 2% of GDP, from the flexible credit line of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The funds would help payment balances and support the COVID-19 pandemic response (El Economista – Spanish).


Cuba got US$1.9bn in foreign investments. Despite US sanctions, Cuba attracted US$1.9bn in foreign investment in the past year (Reuters – English) (Granma – Spanish). The amount was slightly more than the US$1.7bn in 2019. A feat given the circumstances, but still below Cuba’s needs.


Barbados’ PM asks for a Caribbean Recovery and Resilient Trust. Prime Minister Mia Mottley called for the establishment of a Caribbean Recovery and Resilient Trust Fund to assist the region with the impact of natural disasters and other menaces, such as COVID-19 (NY CaribNews – English).


Venezuela’s election came and went with accusations. President Nicolás Maduro claimed victory in congressional elections that were boycotted by the most influential opposition politicians and criticized internationally as being fraudulent (NBC News – English). The victory gives Maduro control of the only branch of government outside his grasp.



Oil & Gas Upstream


BPC and environmental groups brought their fight to court. The Bahamas Petroleum Co. (BPC) commented on an application by environmental groups to block its exploration. The opposing parties asked permission from the Supreme Court for a judicial review of the government’s decision to drill the Perseverance 1 well (Offshore-Mag – English).


ONGC found oil in Colombia. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) surged 5% to Rs 94 on the BSE in early morning deals after the announcement of a “significant strike of oil” in Colombia (Business Standard – English).


Kosmos Energy completed its sale to Shell. Kosmos Energy has partially completed the sale of its frontier offshore oil and gas exploration assets to Shell (OE Digital – English). Shell will purchase Kosmos’ Block 42 in Suriname, a 45% interest in Block NCUD in South Africa, and a 45% interest in PEL0039 block offshore Nambia.


Guyana and Suriname will partner up for oil discoveries. The presidents of Guyana and Suriname announced two major joint venture projects, including a bridge across the Corentyne River to link the two countries and the construction of a US$1bn offshore base to support huge oil discoveries (Jamaica Observer – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Iran sent more tankers than ever to Venezuela. Iran sent 10 vessels, the biggest fleet yet, to Venezuela, defying US sanctions and fighting Venezuela’s crippling fuel shortage (Aljazeera – English). The vessels will also help export Venezuelan crude after discharging fuel.


Aruba is giving its refinery a makeover. Aruba selected Quanten Consortium Aruba and Eagle LNG to restart a dismantled oil refinery and develop the surrounding site in an ambitious initiative promoted by the US government (Argus Media – English). The Quanten group will invest up to US$3.5bn in Aruba.


Everybody wants Ecopetrol’s fuel. Ecopetrol contracted COL$1.1bn with suppliers in the areas where it operates and COL$1.2bn of local export (BN Americas – English) (Dinero – Spanish). Despite oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic, the local export strategy allows suppliers to offer their goods and services in other regions.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Panamá may add more LNG tanker slots. The Panama Canal Authority may add additional reserved LNG transit slots in the future to address the increase in US exports (Platts – English). Delays of more than a week for LNG tankers passing through began in October and have continued.


Trinidad & Tobago will not shut down the Atlantic LNG Train One. The Caribbean nation’s government denied reports that the Atlantic Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Train One will be closed in January 2021 (CBC – English). The shareholders of Atlantic Train One approved the turnaround in January, helping the Train remain in operations in 2021 and 2022.


The Tropigas fire in El Salvador was caused by a leak. A gas leak caused the fire in the gas storage plant in Tropigas, Soyapango (El Mundo – Spanish). The fire started in an area where cylinders are refilled. There were no deaths and the damages caused in the neighboring homes will be covered.



Electric Power & Renewables


Neoen cut the ribbon on its solar plant in El Salvador. Neoen announced that Albireo, its second solar park, is in operation (PV Magazine – Spanish). Albireo provides 4% of the wholesale market energy in El Salvador, or the annual demand of 255,000 homes.


Prepa is concerned with Luma’s hiring process. The head of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) accused Luma Energy of neither developing “an orderly transition” nor providing sufficient information for workers to make an informed decision in terms of moving on to Luma (Caribbean Business – English).


Trinidad & Tobago’s Piarco International Airport is looking for solar generation. The Airports Authority of Trinidad & Tobago invited sealed bids for the design, supply, installation, and commissioning of a solar generation system at Piarco International Airport (Energy Now – English). The mandatory virtual pre-bid meeting is scheduled for December 15.


Panamá needed more power this year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic effect on Panamanians’ lifestyle, power demand increased by 7%, going from 2.571 million kWh between January and October 2019 to 2.739 million kWh registered in the same period this year (Central America Data – English).


Cuba will install additional thermal power barges. The Turkish company Karpowership is discussing the installation of additional thermal power barges to support the three that deliver 10 percent of the island’s electricity (Argus Media – English). The three units are using heavy fuel oil to supply UNE.


Celsia finished its 10MW plant in Colombia. Celsia cut the ribbon on the El Espinal solar plant, a 10MW plant that received COL$36bn (List Solar – English) (PV Magazine – Spanish). The solar farm will supply Grupo Diana’s rice plant with 31% of its electricity output, the rest going to Colombia’s grid.



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 Resiliency Action Challenge will be held virtually on December 17.



Lateral Thinking


Nicaragua won the Solar & Storage Live Project Prize. The Spanish company Solartia received the Solar & Storage Live International Project prize, the biggest renewables event in the UK. Solartia built a micro-grid integrating a solar plant, a storage system, and backup generators in Corn Island (PV Magazine – Spanish).



Quote of the Week


“Comenzó a quejarse en voz alta con la esperanza de que alguien acudiera en su ayuda, la oscuridad lo llenaba de temor.”


“He started to complain out loud, hoping somebody would come to his aid; darkness filled him with fear.”



– Rosa María Britton (1936-2019), Panamanian doctor and novelist.


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