The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


February 15, 2020 edition–Puerto Rico’s grid; Colombia’s natural gas port; and ExxonMobil’s production level.


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. El Salvador changed fuel prices with no notice.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. New York and Prepa will work on Puerto Rico’s power grid; the Dominican Republic will add two new dams in two years; and experts want to partner up with Haiti’s grid.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Antigua and Barbuda’s government is turning to renewables; the Ruby project is on time and on schedule; and Trinidad’s Energy Chamber recommends ending the natural gas subsidy.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. SeaOne will go for Colombia’s natural gas port and infrastructure; ExxonMobil cut production levels in Guyana; and Venezuela’s diesel shortage is creating a humanitarian crisis.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Nicaragua’s natural gas plant (Central America Data – Spanish); ExxonMobil’s gas use in Guyana (Forbes – English); and ExxonMobil’s flaring in Guyana (Newsroom – English).



Government & NGO


The IMF visited Barbados virtually. Barbados’ economy is estimated to have contracted by 18% in 2020, with a gradual recovery projected to start in 2021 (IMF – English). Barbados continues to make good progress in implementing its ambitious and comprehensive economic reform program.


The IMF expects a rough road ahead for the Caribbean. Latin American and the Caribbean economic activity will not return to pre-pandemic levels of output until 2023, and GDP per capita will catch up only in 2025 (Reuters – English).


The Bahamas is fighting corruption “inconsistently.” The US government said The Bahamas’ anti-corruption laws have been “inconsistently applied” due to a decades-old system of political patronage (Tribune 242 – English). Although the country has laws to combat corruption, there are gaps in how they are enforced.


Antigua and Barbuda’s government is turning to renewables. Prime minister and minister of finance and corporate governance, Gaston Browne, is working on the economics of energy transformation through strategies comprising renewable energy, climate resilience, and a development fund to power Antigua and Barbuda (Caribbean News Global – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


BPC found oil in Perseverance 1. BPC confirmed that hydrocarbons were found in the Perseverance 1 well in The Bahamas. Although the well encountered oil, indicated from LWD tools, gas chromatography, and mud logs, commercial volumes of oil have not been proven at this well (Energy Now – English).


ExxonMobil cut production levels in Guyana. ExxonMobil reduced its production level on the Liza Destiny oil production vessel due to concerns about a damaged compressor and the high level of flaring (Loop News Caribbean – English). Exxon is using 88% of the gas produced from the wells.


The Ruby project is on time and on schedule. BHP announced that the Ruby project in Trinidad is on schedule and budget, being 62% complete (Energy Now – English). The Ruby project will include five production wells with capacity to produce up to 16,000 gross barrels of oil per day.


Total may fall short of oil by 2025. Total is targeting first oil from Block 58 offshore Suriname in 2025, but few projects are coming on stream in two years (Argus Media – English). Total will continue to invest in oil and gas, which it says is key to funding its energy transformation.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Venezuela’s diesel shortage is creating a humanitarian crisis. Experts warned of a humanitarian crisis if the US administration does not lift restrictions (VOA News – English). Diesel gained relevance as the engine for essential activities for society, such as food transportation, electricity generation, and public transportation.


Cuba set different prices for private carriers’ fuel. As part of the process of monetary and exchange rate unification, Cuba will sell fuel at a differentiated price to private carriers and the state sector (On Cuba News – English).


El Salvador changed fuel prices with no notice. The Economy Ministry published 15 days of fuel prices, but on February 8, the new prices were published just one hour in advance (El Salvador – Spanish). The premium gasoline price will increase US$0.09 and regular gasoline will increase US$0.09.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Trinidad’s Energy Chamber recommends ending the natural gas subsidy. The Energy Chamber argued that the electricity sector consumes a significant volume of natural gas, around 250 million standard cubic feet per day, and this gas is provided to the country at rates that are below the prevalent prices in the petrochemical and LNG sector (Energy Now – English).


SeaOne will go for Colombia’s natural gas port and infrastructure. The National Infrastructure Agency approved a 30-year port concession to SeaOne Holdings’ subsidiary, “Puerto Solo,” for an energy hub port project located in the inner bay of Buenaventura, Colombia (Finance Colombia – English).


NG Energy will boost Colombia’s gas. NG Energy raised CAN$9.8m in fresh capital as it seeks to boost Colombian natural gas operations (BN Americas – English). NG Energy has working interests in the Maria Conchita, Sinu-9, and Tiburón natural gas blocks in Colombia’s north.



Electric Power & Renewables


The CDEEE will start bidding for Punta Catalina. The Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales (CDEEE) opened a process of international public bidding to contract the operation and maintenance services of the Punta Catalina thermoelectric plant, despite the fact that the plant is in a settlement process (Diario Libre – Spanish).


Dominican renewables are skyrocketing. Electricity generation in the Dominican Republic from renewable sources rose 2.82% during 2020, mainly thanks to hydroelectric power (Dominican Today – English). In 2019, renewable sources accounted for 11.87% of the electricity generated in the country during that year, a figure that in 2020 was 14.69%.


The Dominican Republic will add two new dams in two years. President Luís Abinader announced that the Monte Grande dam will be ready on August 16, 2022, and the dam in Guayubín within 24 months (Dominican Today – English). Abinader said the work at Guayubín was halted because construction began without an environmental study.


New York and Prepa will work on Puerto Rico’s power grid. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the renewal of an agreement between the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) to help Puerto Rico rebuild and “maximize efficiencies in its utility operations” (Caribbean Business – English).


Experts want to partner up with Haiti’s grid. The InterEnergy Group, the Punta Cana Macao Energy Consortium (CEPM), and the San Pedro de Macorís Electricity Company (CESPM) favor the Dominican Republic’s cooperation with the Haitian energy system (Dominican Today – English).



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 5th Caribbean Infrastructure Forum will be held March 24-25.


The Hydrogen Congress for Latin America & the Caribbean – H2LAC is rescheduled for April 14-15.


The Island Energy Transformation Training Series will be held April 29.



Lateral Thinking


Kiwi Energy will help out Haiti’s energy. Kiwi Energy contributed to Hope for Haiti and will support the Carbon Committees initiative (PR News Wire – English). Hope for Haiti will help increase environmental education and refine agriculture techniques.



Quote of the Week


“Remember your ancestors, dream of your descendants and work hard while you’re living.”


– Karen Lord (1968), Barbadian writer of speculative fiction.


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