The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


February 10, 2020 edition– T&T canceled gas deal; Barbados’ BHP permit; and Costa Rica’s solar roofs.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Costa Rica bets on solar roofs; Nicaragua’s sugar cane boosted renewables; and Carso Energy purchased Ideal Panamá’s assets.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. With the extension, Tullow has big plans on Jamaica; Punta Catalina is still making headlines; and will Venezuela include Haiti in PetroCaribe’s relaunch?


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago canceled the gas deal with Venezuela; Barbados handed BHP Petroleum offshore exploration licenses; and Touchstone found liquid-rich gas in Cascadura.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Frontera Energy made an oil discovery in Colombia; Venezuela’s oil exports fell 14% in January; and Canacol and Parex control 40% of Colombia’s natural gas.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Anguilla’s energy storage (New Energy Events – English); Jamaica’s investment in Guyana (Pride News – English); and Barbados’ lack of natural gas (Nation News – English).



Government & NGO


Fitch rating for Jamaica went from stable to positive. The international rating agency affirmed the government’s rating at B+ and revised Jamaica’s outlook from stable to positive (Pride News – English). Fitch applauded the country’s efforts to maintain the debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward trajectory.


The IMF visited The Bahamas. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects The Bahamas to experience a mild economic contraction in 2020, but growth is expected to pick up once infrastructure and tourism capacity is rebuilt after Hurricane Dorian (IMF – English). The pace will depend on the reconstruction plan implementation.


Guatemala’s remittances reached US$834.6m in January. In January, the income from remittances in the Central American country reached US$834m, a 21.3% increase compared with the same period in 2019 (DCA – Spanish). For 2020, Guatemala’s central bank forecasts an increase of 11% in remittance amounts.


Colombia is looking for investors in Latin America. Colombia is seeking Latin American investors for its domestic debt. The goal is to diversify the range of bondholders, improving the liquidity and resilience of its debt market (Reuters – English).


Guyana questions Global Witness’ claims over PSA. A report from Global Witness alleges that Stabroek’s production sharing agreement (PSA) cost the country US$55bn (Forbes – English), while the country accused the NGO of attempting to influence the outcome of the general elections (Caribbean 360 – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Trinidad & Tobago canceled the gas deal with Venezuela. The Caribbean nation canceled the agreement with Venezuela to develop a gas field in their maritime border because of US sanctions on Venezuela’s PDVSA (Reuters – English). The two countries will independently develop the 10.04 trillion cubic feet Loran-Manatee shallow-water field.


Barbados handed BHP Petroleum offshore exploration licenses. The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources issued offshore exploration licenses for the Carlisle Bay and Bimshire Block to the Australian oil giant (Barbados Today – English). According to the government, the oil sector is expected to offer significant opportunities for the Barbadian people.


Touchstone found liquid-rich gas in Cascadura. Touchstone Exploration finished the first stage of the Cascadura-1ST1 testing, confirming a significant liquids-rich natural gas discovery (Energy Now – English). The test also confirmed a peak flowback rate of 5,736boe/d, including 30.2 MMcf/d of natural gas and 710bbls/d of natural gas liquids.


Frontera Energy made an oil discovery in Colombia. The Canadian company found light oil and natural gas in Valle Bajo del Magdalena (Valora Analitik – English). Frontera recently started the drilling of the Asai-1 well in the Guama block, where the company plans to find natural gas.


With the extension, Tullow has big plans on Jamaica. With the extension of the initial exploration period to July 31, Tullow is leading a joint venture farmdown effort to add additional partners for exploration drilling in 2021 on the Colibri prospect (Energy Now – English). Several interested parties are evaluating the license data.


Staatsolie has big hopes for Suriname’s offshore production. With the Apache and Total discovery at Maka Central-1 in Suriname’s Block 58, Staatsolie is optimistic about Suriname’s working petroleum system offshore (Energy Now – English). Staatsolie will be a major stakeholder in this activity going into 2020.


Tullow, Eco, and Total will discuss the future of Guyana’s heavy oil block. Eco Atlantic, Tullow Oil, and Total will assess the future potential of heavy oil finds off Guyana (Platts – English). Considering the drilling results, the companies will define new drilling targets, budgets, and dates for future drillings.


Colombia’s natural gas production increased. In 2019, natural gas production in the Caribbean nation reached 1,068 million cubic feet on average per day, a 9.4% increase compared to the 977 mcfad in 2018 (El Colombiano – Spanish). The Mines and Energy Minister emphasized the important increase in hydrocarbons exploration activities.


Canacol and Parex control 40% of Colombia’s natural gas. The two companies comprise 40% of Colombia’s natural gas production. While Canacol is already producing natural gas, Parex is still working on the extraction process, investing US$400m in drilling (Portafolio – Spanish).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Will Venezuela include Haiti in PetroCaribe’s relaunch? Venezuela plans to relaunch the PetroCaribe cooperation agreement in 2020 with Caribbean nations that are not “at war with Venezuela.” As the Haitian government, under President Jovenel Moïse, rejected the legitimacy of Maduro as president, a Venezuelan government official said that “Haiti has excluded itself” (Global Voices – English).


The US warned energy companies with ties to Maduro’s government. The Trump administration warned energy companies, such as Rosneft, Reliance, Repsol, and Chevron, to “tread cautiously” with their activities in Venezuela that are directly or indirectly in support of the Maduro government (Business Insider – English).


Venezuela’s oil exports fell 14% in January. The Caribbean nation exported less than 1 million barrels per day of crude and refined products in January, a fall in exports of 14% (Oil Price – English). Venezuela oil stocks also fell from 39.85 million barrels in September 2019 to 35.9 million barrels at the end of January.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Trinidad & Tobago consolidated its LNG operations. The government and the shareholders agreed to operate the four liquefactions trains that comprise Trinidad & Tobago’s Atlantic complex as one unit (Argus Media – English). The agreement will increase the government’s income from LNG exports.


AES is concerned with Panamá’s natural gas and LNG projects. AES Gas Natural Atlántico asked for more information regarding the 441MW development project Gas to Power Panamá and the 671MW Telfers thermoelectric to gas project (BNAmericas – Spanish). Other companies expressed their concern in the public consultation that ended this past week.


The Pacific regasification plant may face trouble. The regasification plant of the Pacific in Buenaventura may face problems due to the pipeline route through several complicated areas (Portafolio – Spanish). The General Maritime Direction warned that the internal channel of Buenaventura is too narrow for the Qmax ship.


AES Dominicana had a natural gas leak drill. The AES Dominicana company developed a natural gas leak drill in the AES Andrés Power Complex, informing the inhabitants close to the complex (El Nuevo Diario – Spanish). The goal is to take the precautionary actions to face such an event.


The Dominican Republic is transitioning to natural gas. The Dominican Republic is working on diversifying its power matrix, reducing its dependency on oil to zero, and increasing the electricity generated by natural gas and coal to 80% (El Día – Spanish).



Electric Power & Renewables


Punta Catalina is still making headlines. The power plant will start supplying stable power in March (Dominican Today – English) and the government is considering several offers for the purchase of 50% of the plant (Dominican Today – English). Former workers of that power plant denounced the lack of bonus payments, and that the plant’s sale would jeopardize them (Dominican Today – English).


Costa Rica bets on solar roofs. President Carlos Alvarado Quesada visited ICU Medical’s plant, where Avolta Energy is building the biggest solar roof project in the country (PV Magazine – Spanish). The 1.2MW photovoltaic system will have more than 4,000 panels.


Nicaragua’s sugar cane boosted renewables. Nicaragua’s renewable energy increased, reaching 80.6% of the national power generation, thanks to sugar cane biomass that contributed with 33.2% of the total (Energía Limpia para Todos – Spanish). Wind energy represented 22.5% and geothermal 24.6%.


The PREPA’s drama continues. Puerto Rico rejected the proposed increase in electricity rates that was part of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) (New Energy Events – English) restructuring support agreement (RSA) with the public utility’s bondholders. Meanwhile, lawyers for the financial oversight board asked for another delay to get approval from the legislature (Reuters – English).


Carso Energy purchased Ideal Panamá’s assets. Carlos Slim’s power company acquired 100% of the social capital shares of Ideal Panamá, which operates two hydropower plants in the Central American nation. The assets in operation since 2012 have a combined capacity of 145MW (El Financiero – Spanish).



Old School Social


Events in the world beyond your screen—go see and be seen!


The SPE Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference is scheduled for March 17-19 in Bogotá.



Lateral Thinking


The CARICOM Energy Innovation Challenge is here. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) have launched the challenge for primary and secondary students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) (St Lucia News Online – English).



Quote of the Week


“The history of catastrophe requires such a literature to hold a broken mirror up to broken nature.”



– Edward Kamau Brathwaite (1930-2020), Barbadian poet and academic.





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