The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


February 22, 2020 edition–Guatemala’s power auction; Cartagena refinery’s makeover; and Guyana’s oil output.


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala will launch a power auction; Panamá takes advantage of its sun; and Costa Rica’s LPG users qualify the service.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. UWI will teach LNG cryogenics engineering; Akuo will power up a Caribbean resort; and the Supreme Court will decide on The Bahamas’ oil exploration.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinity is looking forward to the Galeota Asset Development; and Predator got good news from the Pilot CO2 EOR Project.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Guyana does not expect much oil output in 2021; Ecopetrol is expanding the Cartagena refinery; and Maersk drilling got two Suriname floater contracts.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Punta Catalina’s bidding (Diario Libre – Spanish); SeaOne’s natural gas port (Finance Colombia – English); and Colombia’s gas (BN Americas – English).



Government & NGO


The IMF is proud of Colombia’s COVID-19 response… The IMF said the financial system has remained resilient in Colombia and policy measures have helped, but fiscal measures must continue to support its population (IMF – English). Gradual fiscal consolidation should return over the next five years.


…but warned the Caribbean about tourism activity. The IMF warned that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the ECCU economy hard as tourism activity will remain down, limiting the strength of economic recovery (Anrigua Newsroom – English). The recovery will depend on how quickly the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control.


The Dominican Republic launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The Dominican Republic started the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 after the arrival of the first 20,000 doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine (Reuters – English). President Luis Abinader said his government had acquired 110,000 doses of the vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII).


Faith leaders are defending Puerto Rican payments. US faith leaders urged President Biden to withdraw a lawsuit filed by the Trump administration to block US$2.3bn in supplemental income payments to 300,000 aged, blind, and disabled Puerto Ricans (Reuters – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


The Supreme Court will decide on The Bahamas’ oil exploration. A Supreme Court judge said a ruling will be out by February 20 on whether environmental activists must lodge a US$200,000 performance bond to cover an oil explorer’s costs (Tribune 242 – English). Oil exploration opponents will halt their challenge to BPC drilling approvals (Tribune 242 – English).


Maersk drilling got two Suriname floater contracts. Maersk Drilling was awarded contracts for the deepwater rigs from Total E&P Suriname, Suriname Branch, for Total’s exploration and appraisal project in Suriname’s Block 58 (Energy Now – English). Maersk Developer and Maersk Valiant will be employed for an estimated combined total duration of 500 days.


Guyana does not expect much oil output in 2021. Guyana predicts an average crude production of 109,000 barrels per day in 2021, 46.7% above last year but under initial expectations because of a recurring technical glitch (Argus Media – English).


Trinity is looking forward to the Galeota Asset Development. Trinity Exploration and Production had its second public consultation for the proposed Galeota Asset Development (GAD) Project as part of the certificate of environmental process (CEC) (Energy Now – English). The project entails the installation of two offshore platforms. The reference terms of the auction are being reviewed.


Maurel & Prom has big plans for Colombia’s drilling. The French oil and gas company will invest US$41m in its COR-15 exploration project in northern Colombia (BN Americas – English). The planned work program includes 12 exploration wells at six 3ha locations in the Boyacá department.


Predator got good news from Pilot CO2 EOR project. The Jersey-based oil and gas company announced the results of its Pilot CO2 EOR project in the Inniss-Trinity field onshore Trinidad (Energy Now – English). The Pilot CO2 EOR program is designed to demonstrate safe injection of anthropogenic CO2.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Venezuela broke an LPG black market scheme. The head of PDV Gas Comunal was charged with leading a nationwide scheme that allegedly funneled some 10,000 barrels per day of bottled propane into the illicit sale of 10kg canisters for US$10 apiece (Argus Media – English). Grey’s network was sourcing the propane from PdV’s 200,000 b/d cryogenic complex at Jose.


WIPL is having internal issues. West Indies Petroleum Limited (WIPL) ousted two of its directors, each of whom also owns 20% of the bunkering company (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The company did not clarify the fallout and assured the company “remains a stable entity” on the path to growth.


Ecopetrol is expanding the Cartagena refinery. The Colombian state-owned company presented plans to invest US$180m to increase capacity at its Cartagena refinery (BN Americas – English). The expansion will integrate the original refinery with the Reficar complex completed in 2015.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombia needs more natural gas in February. Natural gas demand increased 2.51% in the first week of February. The natural gas demand reached 940 GBtud, higher than the 917 GBtud from the previous week due to an 11% increase in thermal generation (Portafolio – Spanish).


Costa Rica’s LPG users qualify for the service. According to the survey from the Public Service Regulatory Authority (ARESEP), Costa Rica’s users check the LPG cylinder before purchasing it, but they place it inside their homes and have not received information on how to install it safely (BN Americas – English).


UWI will teach LNG cryogenics engineering. The University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI), announced a milestone partnership with New Fortress Energy to introduce a cryogenics engineering course in the Faculty of Engineering (Loop Jamaica – English). Cryogenics engineering involves the design and development of systems and components which produce, maintain, or utilize low temperatures.



Electric Power & Renewables


Dominican Republic’s utilities debt with power companies dropped. The electricity distribution companies (EDE) and the Dominican State Electric Utility’s (CDEEE) debt with power companies fell US$106m during 2020, compared to the previous year (Dominican Today – English). It is the lowest debt level since 2016.


Guatemala will launch a power auction. The National Commission of Power Energy will launch a 400MW auction to cover long-term demand of three distributor companies (Central America Data – Spanish).


Panamá takes advantage of its sun. Avanzalia Solar said the 150MW solar plant Penonomé, the biggest Central American plant, is up and running (PV magazine – Spanish). The plant has 450,000 solar panels and 89 inverters.


Akuo will power up a Caribbean resort. The French renewable power supplier announced the official opening of a 1.5MWp solar installation for a resort in the Dominican Republic (Renewables Now – English). The French firm has signed a 15-year lease agreement for the project.


Enel Green Power will cut the ribbon on the Windpeshi farm in 2022. Enel Green Power expects to start operation of its 205MW wind farm in Colombia in June 2022 (Renewables Now – English). The construction of the 185MW La Loma solar project is due to commence in the department of Cesar.



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


El Salvador will use the sun to pump water. El Salvador’s National Administration of Pipelines and Sewage and the Energy National Board signed an agreement to use energy in the water system to guarantee a better water supply throughout the country (PV magazine – Spanish).



Quote of the Week


“Interviewing is in some ways the art of memory.”



– Francisco Goldman (1954), American novelist and journalist.


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