The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


December 16, 2019 edition– Heritage Petroleum EOI; Dominican Republic’s natural gas; and Puerto Rico’s rural power.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. The IDB okayed three operations for Honduras; Panama’s thermal generation doubled; and rural power is a challenge in El Salvador.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuba has a new solar plant in operation; the Dominican Republic will clean up 750MW; and retail natural gas is growing in the Dominican Republic.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Heritage Petroleum published an expression of interest (EOI) for offshore assets; Curaçao auctioned off some Venezuelan crude; and Valaris announced a contract extension in Trinidad & Tobago.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia’s Dimar is concerned about the LNG terminal in the Pacific; Apache set a new target depth in Suriname as worries grew; and, without a pipeline, nobody is after Colombia’s Bloque de la Paz area.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Shell’s plans in the Bahamas (English); and Venezuela’s electricity crisis (English).



Editorial Interlude


This week’s edition will be the last for 2019 as our hard-working team takes a well-deserved break with friends and family. We wish you a peaceful and contemplative end of the year, and an invigorating start to the new. Our next edition will be issued on January 6, 2020. See you then!


– The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean team



Political Economy


Exports from Latin America and the Caribbean decreased. The value of exports from the region will decrease by 2.4% this year after two years of strong growth (English). The reason is slowing global demand, volatility in commodity markets, and uncertainty surrounding global trade tensions.


The IDB okayed three operations for Honduras. The Inter-American Development Bank will support Honduras with three loans totaling US$134.7m to improve its competitiveness through digital transformation, rural and productive development programs, and improving the resilience of forests (English).


The IMF said Suriname’s economy is steady. The International Monetary Fund found that Suriname’s economy is growing steadily with low inflation and with real GDP increasing 2.6% in 2018 (English). Suriname’s unemployment rate is decreasing, and the country is experiencing low inflation.


Eclac maintained El Salvador’s economic outlook at 2.2%. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac) maintained the economic growth outlook for El Salvador at 2.2% in 2019 and 2.3% in 2020 (Spanish). The country is doing better than Nicaragua’s 5.3% contraction and Costa Rica’s 1.8% growth.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Apache set a new target depth in Suriname as worries grew. Apache set a 6,900m target depth for its exploratory well in Block 58 offshore Suriname to evaluate a third play type in the Cretaceous (English). The decision impacted the company’s shares (English).


Aker Solutions will help out BPTT with FEED. Aker Solutions was awarded a front-end engineering and design contract (FEED) for the first platform in a series of BP Trinidad & Tobago’s future assets portfolio (English). The project’s final investment decision will be taken in 2020.


Heritage Petroleum published an expression of interest (EOI) for offshore assets. Heritage Petroleum Company Limited is looking for service providers for asset integrity services and engineering services for its offshore assets in Trinidad & Tobago’s Soldado Fields (English). The assets consist of 22 producing platforms, three block stations, and 12 riser platforms.


Valaris announced a contract extension in Trinidad & Tobago. Among other new drilling contracts, the company formed with the merger of Ensco and Rowan will extend the Valaris JU-117 contract for two wells in Trinidad & Tobago, with an estimated duration of 60 days from February to April 2020 (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Curaçao sold off some Venezuelan crude. A court in the Caribbean nation started a public auction to sell 199,882 barrels of Santa Barbara crude and 3,420 barrels of Tia Juana heavy crude seized by shipping firms to whom PDVSA allegedly owed money (English). The auction was held December 11.


Latin America and the Caribbean could save big by decarbonizing. According to the UN Environment Programme, the region could reach annual savings of US$621bn by 2050 if the energy and transport sectors reach zero emissions (English). Both sectors produce two-thirds of the region’s fossil CO2 emissions.


Colombia’s Dimar is concerned about the LNG terminal in the Pacific. The Maritime direction of Colombia, Dimar, is concerned about the proposal to install an LNG import terminal on the Pacific coast, with an investment of US$660m (Spanish). Dimar pointed to the operational risks of the current project design.


Without a pipeline, nobody is after Colombia’s Bloque de la Paz area. Although it has a huge gas production potential, the Catatumbo 4 area or Bloque de la Paz received no offers for its exploration and exploitation. The reason is the lack of connection with the national gas transportation system and the area’s stigmatization as a violent zone (Spanish).


Natural gas retail sales are growing in the Dominican Republic. Total signed an agreement with Plater Dominicana acquiring 70% of its shares of the natural gas distribution company to offer a power alternative to the transportation and industry sectors (Spanish). InterEnergy Group and AES Dominicano partnered up to sell natural gas in the Eastern region (Spanish).



Renewables & Electricity


Rural power is a challenge in El Salvador and Puerto Rico. El Salvador’s Energy and Mines Ministry (MEM) estimates that US$450m is needed to increase power coverage in rural areas (Spanish). The US Department of Agriculture will invest US$165.4m to help farmers and rural-based businessmen cut their energy costs by installing renewable energy (English).


Panama’s thermal generation doubled. Between January and October 2019, power generation from thermal sources increased 120% compared to the same period in the previous year, from 1,698GWh to 3,736GWh (Spanish). Renewable energy generation decreased by 32%.


The Dominican Republic will clean up 750MW. The government finished the negotiation with power companies to convert 750MW from the east region to natural gas by February 2020 (English). This would be the first phase of the conversion process that will continue later with other regions.


The Bahamas will go after renewables boosted by the IDB. The Inter-American Development Bank will work with the Bahamian government to structure a US$170m special purpose vehicle (SPV) (English). The goal is to speed up the solarization of the Family Islands, helping the Bahamas become a “Caribbean renewable leader.”


Cuba has a new solar plant in operation. Ciego de Ávila has a new solar park producing 15kW (Spanish). Although the park does not cover the total demand of the area, it contributes 58kWh per day and adds to the three other solar parks in Ciego de Ávila.


Associations will boost renewables in the Latin American region. Twelve renewable energy associations from Spain and Latin America, including Mexico and Colombia, pledged to boost the development of these technologies in their countries after signing an agreement at the Madrid climate summit (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


The Bahamas and the IDB will develop skills-building programs. The government of the Caribbean nation and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced the Skills for Current and Future Jobs in The Bahamas, a US$50m initiative which will last five years. The program will increase the employability of Bahamians and connect job seekers to employers (English).



Quote of the Week


“People who repeatedly attack your confidence and self-esteem are quite aware of your potential, even if you are not.”



– Wayne Gerard Trotman (1964), Trinidadian British independent filmmaker, writer, and composer.




We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or skills for job seekers to


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