The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


December 21, 2020 edition–Suriname’s discovery; St. Kitts and Nevis’ solar; and PDVSA’s crude transferring.


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. ECA’s LNG export license was extended to help out Panamá; and Hurricanes Eta and Iota damaged Honduras.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuba will kill fuel subsidies; the Dominican Republic’s Monte Grande dam will be ready by 2022; and BPC will drill Perseverance 1 this year.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Limetree Bay Ventures sold its first oil; LUCELEC started cable works for solar part storage; and St. Kitts and Nevis will have the largest solar generation and storage project.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Suriname will offer new oil bids; Ecopetrol plans big investments in 2021; and PDVSA began transferring crude offshore.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Luma’s hiring (Caribbean Business – English); LNG tankers in the Panama Canal (Platts – English); and Aruba’s refinery makeover (Argus Media – English).



Editorial Interlude


This week’s edition will be the last for 2020 as our hard working team takes a well-deserved break with friends and family. We wish you a safe, peaceful and contemplative end to this most eventful year, and an invigorating start to the new. Our next edition will be issued on January 11, 2021. See you then!


– The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean team



Government & NGO


The IMF okayed funds for Barbados. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved US$390m for Barbados after its executive board finished the fourth review of the IMF’s arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for the Caribbean nation (CBC – English).


Jamaica has a new climate plan. Jamaica sent a second, stronger “nationally determined contribution” for the Paris climate accord (Reuters – English). The Caribbean nation wants to demonstrate to the world that despite the challenges posed by COVID and the hurricane season, they are still committed to actionable goals.


Hurricanes Eta and Iota damaged Honduras. Hurricanes Eta and Iota caused US$10bn in damages in Honduras, affecting more than 4 million people (Reuters – English). The storms hit within two weeks in November. Nicaragua reported losses of US$743m.


ECLAC forecasts a 7.7% contraction for Latin America. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) slightly improved the growth forecasts for the region, with a 7.7% contraction in 2020 (Diario Libre – Spanish). In July, the forecasted recession was 9.1%.


The Dominican Republic attracted US$2.6bn in foreign investment. Despite the impact of the pandemic, ProDominicana said direct foreign investment could finish 2020 exceeding US$2.6bn, a higher-than-average amount of the last decade in terms of investment (Dominican Today – English). ProDominicana highlighted investments in the real estate sector.


Cuba’s economy shrank 11% in 2020. The Caribbean island’s economy contracted 11% in 2020 due to the pandemic. Economy Minister Alejandro Gil forecasted a 6% to 7% growth for next year (Reuters – English). Cuba imports more than 50% of its fuel, food, and many other vital inputs. This decline has resulted in a scarcity of basic products, including food, medicine, and fuel.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Petronas and ExxonMobil found hydrocarbons in Suriname. Petronas and ExxonMobil discovered hydrocarbons at the Sloanea-1 well offshore Suriname (OGJ – English). The well was drilled to 15,682 ft. total depth by the Maersk Developer rig. Block 52, north of the coast of Paramaribo, lies in the prospective Suriname-Guyana basin.


Suriname will offer new oil bids. Staatsolie Hydrocarbon Institute has announced the offer of eight new blocks in Suriname’s currently unlicensed and underexplored Shallow Offshore (SHO) acreage (Energy Now – English). The eight blocks cover 13,524 sq. km.


Ecopetrol plans big investments in 2021. The Colombian state-owned company is preparing to invest between US$3.5bn and US$4bn in 2021 (Natural Gas World – English). The bulk will go toward domestic upstream operations.


Touchstone bet big on Trinidad’s exploration. In its third quarter report, the company said that it invested US$5m in exploration activities onshore Trinidad, mainly directed to drilling operations on Chinook-1 and surface facility equipment expenditures relating to Coho-1 tie-in operations (Energy Now – English).


BPC will drill Perseverance 1 this year. Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) plans to spud the Perseverance 1 well in December 2020 (Energy Now – English) (EW News – English). The Stena IceMAX was contracted for the drilling work. BPC expects that drilling should take between 45 and 60 days.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Limetree Bay Ventures sold its first oil. The Caribbean refinery sold the first oil product to a buyer on the Gulf Coast, a year after the facility was expected to restart (Reuters – English). BP took delivery of approximately 216,000 barrels of naphtha.


PDVSA began transferring crude offshore. The state-owned company started transferring crude off of the Nabarima offshore oil facility anchored in the Corocoro oilfield off Venezuela’s eastern coast (Economic Times – English). The Inmaculada will ferry the crude onto PDVSA’s Icaro tanker.


Cuba will kill fuel subsidies. Cuba will eliminate state subsidies from a range of goods and services, including fuel and power prices, which will experience an increase of 25-30% (Argus Media – English). The rate increases come as the country ends its dual currency system.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


ECA’s LNG export license was extended to help out Panamá. The US Department of Energy extended the long-term LNG export license of Energía Costa Azul (ECA) through 2050 (Natural Gas Intel – English). The ECA project would allow US gas exports to bypass the Panama Canal.


Colombian gas pipelines are in the works. According to the association Naturgas, energy developers’ plans to pump US$2.9bn into Colombia’s natural gas projects in the next two years are on track (BN Americas – English). The transport segment will receive US$1.66bn; the distribution segment will receive US$30m.


Natural gas projects will bring US$2.9bn to Colombia. The Colombian Association of Natural Gas (Naturgas) said that there are close to 127 natural gas projects in the country that will require US$2.9bn, and that will create more than 20,000 jobs in several parts of the Caribbean nation (Dinero – Spanish).



Electric Power & Renewables


LUCELEC started cable works for solar part storage. St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) is doing cabling works for adding battery storage to its 3MW solar farm at La Tourney (Energy Now – English). The works will continue through this month.


Dominican Republic’s Monte Grande dam will be ready by 2022. The director of the National Institute of Hydro Resources (INDRHI) said the Monte Grande dam will be finished by the end of 2022 if climate and economic conditions allow it (Diario Libre – Spanish). The dam will benefit 400,000 families with water and electric energy.


Colombia is shining in solar. The Port of Cartagena is installing 2.2MW of rooftop solar with plans to have the system ready in January 2021 (Renewables Now – English). Atlantica signed a deal to buy a 20MW solar plant in Colombia (Renewables Now – English).


St. Kitts and Nevis will have the largest solar generation and storage project. The Caribbean nation and the St. Kitts Electricity Company Limited will facilitate the construction of the largest solar generation and energy storage project in the Caribbean (The St. Kitts Nevis Observer – English).


The Cibao route will go for electric vehicles. Evergo and Grupo Rica joined the promotion of electric vehicles as part of their socially responsible philosophy, installing an Evergo Level 2 electric vehicle charger in Básica (Dominican Today – English).


Green Energy Venture markets over 1.5GW of Colombia’s solar projects. Green Energy Venture developed three photovoltaic pipelines in Colombia (PV Magazine – English). The developments are qualified in collaboration with the Swiss-headquartered PV design office of the company and are prepared to become high-yield system applications.



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 Hydrogen Congress for Latin America & the Caribbean – H2LAC will be held virtually on March 24-25, 2021.



Lateral Thinking


CDB and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ boost solar. The Caribbean Development Bank is supporting St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ push to boost a planned solar energy project (Caribank – English). The bank approved financing of US$8.6m to St. Vincent Electricity Services Ltd for the supply and installation of solar.



Quote of the Week


“You laugh as you sing about dying, you drug yourself up, but you can still see clearly, and you die as you break into a fit of laughter, because asi es la vida in this soup of islands stewed in hunger and the desire to be someone else.”



– Mayra Santos-Febres (1966), Puerto Rican author, poet, novelist and essayist.


We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or solar projects to


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