The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


February 1, 2020 edition–Central America’s turn to gas; Puerto Rico’s natural gas and renewables; and Exxon’s drillships.


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Central America turns to gas for power; LNG tankers are still stuck at the Panama Canal; and AES Panamá won the Award for Corporate Excellence.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuba’s Hermanos Díaz is refining again; IEEFA and FEMA disagree on natural gas plants; and AES has plans for the Dominican Republic’s sun.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Antigua will get into the blue economy; and Antigua and Barbuda will build affordable homes.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Exxon asked for another Stena drillship; Colombia plans 15 oil exploration contracts; and Chevron is working to ease US sanctions on Venezuela.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Kremi’s power conversion (Jamaica Gleaner – English); Trade Winds’ deal with New Fortress (Jamaica Gleaner – English); and Aruba’s LNG terminal (Bunker Spot – English).



Government & NGO


The IMF visited The Bahamas. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects The Bahamas’ real GDP to contract by 16.2% in 2020, followed by a recovery of 2% in 2021 (IMF – English). Public debt is expected to jump to almost 90% of GDP by 2021.


The Dominican Republic’s industrial activity recovered by the end of 2020. Manufacturing activity increased in December 2020 compared to November 2020, going from 50 to 58.8 points (Diario Libre – Spanish). The monthly index of manufacturing activity changes seasonally, and is affected by crops, Christmas, the summer, etc.


The Dominican Republic’s free zone exports fell in 2020. Exports from the free zone reached US$5.8bn in 2020, a drop of 2.89% in relation to the same period in 2019 (Dominican Today – English). Customs said 50.80% of exports corresponded to consumer goods.


Antigua will get into the blue economy. Antigua and Barbuda, the University of the West Indies, and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate in support for a Centre for Excellence for Oceanography and the Blue Economy (Jamaica Gleaner – English).


Antigua and Barbuda will build affordable homes. The government of Antigua and Barbuda, the United Nations Office for Project Services, and Sustainable Housing Solution (SHS) announced a program to ease demand for housing across the Caribbean nation (Antigua Observer – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Exxon asked for another Stena drillship. Exxon asked Stena Drilling for the charter of the ultra-deepwater drillship Stena DrillMax, amounting to six drillships supporting Exxon’s work (Energy Now – English). The Stena DrillMax is a harsh environment, dynamically-positioned DP Class 3 drillship.


Colombia plans 15 oil exploration contracts. Colombia aims to sign 15 oil exploration contracts in 2021 while setting the Caribbean nation’s crude production target for the year at 865,000 barrels of oil per day (Economic Times – English). Oil production from January to November in 2020 fell 11.6%.


Hess gave an update on the Guyana drilling campaigns. According to Hess, ExxonMobil discovered more oil in the deepwater Stabroek block offshore Guyana. The Hassa-1 well encountered around 50 feet of oil-bearing reservoir in deeper geological intervals, but no oil in the primary target areas (Offshore-Mag – English).


The BPC and its opponents keep fighting. The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) accused opponents of failing to participate in consultations on the exploratory well, and made a thinly disguised threat to issue defamation proceedings against activists for suggesting the company did not have the necessary insurance coverage (Tribune 242 – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


An attack halted Caño Limón’s oil flow. Oil flow through the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline was stopped after an attack with explosives resulted in a fire (Reuters – English). The attack took place in the Arauca province. The incident is the first major attack on the pipeline this year.


Chevron is working to ease US sanctions on Venezuela. Chevron and Reliance Industries met with the US State Department to ease some of the Trump administration’s restrictions against Venezuela’s oil industry (World Oil – English). The goal is to reinstate oil swaps.


Venezuela is out of fuel but sends 40% to Cuba. Venezuela is facing a fuel shortage due to the declining production of PDVSA’s refineries, while  40% of what is produced is taken to Cuba (ADN Cuba – Spanish). Only the Cardón refinery and El Patito are operating at the minimal level of installed capacity.


Cuba’s Hermanos Díaz is refining again. The oil refinery Hermanos Díaz in Santiago de Cuba received the first crude volumes of 2021 after months of receiving only finished products. The crude will be used to produce fuel and gasoline (Sierra Maestra – Spanish).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


LNG tankers are still stuck at the Panama Canal. LNG tankers passing through the Panama Canal without a reservation face wait times of more than a week (Platts – English). The Panama Canal Authority cited the global economic recovery and peak LNG season as reasons for the delay.


IEEFA and FEMA disagree on natural gas plants. The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau issued an order rebuking the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) for attempting to move forward with new projects, including a 400MW natural gas plant and 330MW of smaller natural gas peaking units (Caribbean Business – English).


Central America turns to gas for power. According to Siepac, Central America plans for power generation capacity to increase 1,195MW by January 2023. Most capacity will come from natural gas-fired plants (680MW), followed by solar (217.6MW) and hydro (201.4MW) (BN Americas – English).


The Dominican Republic is setting its gas borders. The Dominican Republic is working on the delimitation of maritime borders with Haiti after concluding negotiations with the Netherlands. The importance of the territorial sea lies in the amount of territory submerged and the possibility of finding gas or other minerals there (Dominican Today – English)



Electric Power & Renewables


Colombia published its energy storage auction. The Unit of Energy Mining Planning invited national transmission companies and generators to participate in the auction to build, operate, and maintain a storage system of electric energy with batteries in the Atlántico department (PV Magazine – Spanish).


The Dominican Republic will build 700MW plants. The Caribbean nation will announce auctions for the construction of power plants of more than 700MW in the northern region (Dominican Today – English). The goal is to secure enough supply to meet the national need and supply some amount of energy to Haiti.


Prepa is looking for renewable projects. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) will issue a request for proposal for the procurement of 1,000MW of renewable energy and 500MW of energy storage resource capacity (Caribbean Business – English). The RFP includes 150MW of capacity to be provided by “virtual power plants (VPPs).”


The Abu Dhabi Fund worked hard in 2020 in the Caribbean. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development completed five crucial renewable energy projects in Cuba, The Bahamas, Barbados, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (CBNME – English). The projects reduced the countries’ carbon footprint and brought economic benefits.


Trina Solar cut the ribbon in Colombia. Trina Solar connected the second phase of the Los Llanos plant to the national grid and started its commercial operations (PV Magazine – Spanish). Both the first and the second phase of the plant contributed with 27MWp capacity each.


AES has plans for the Dominican Republic’s sun. The regulator SIE recommended the CNE grant AES Andrés a 25-year concession for the 50MWn Santanasol solar project (BN Americas – English). The CNE granted AES a provisional concession for the park in May 2019.



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 Session 2 is scheduled for February 9.


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



Lateral Thinking


AES Panamá won the Corporate Excellence Award. AES in Panamá won the Award for Corporate Excellence awarded by the US State Department. The award recognizes US companies that have the highest standards as responsible members of their community and that represent US values in their way of doing business (Estrategia y Negocios – Spanish).



Quote of the Week


“If a woman is worth remembering,’ said my grandmother, ‘there is no need to have her name carved in letters.”



– Edwidge Danticat (1969), Haitian-American novelist and short story writer.


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