The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


January 11, 2020 edition–Nicaragua’s geothermal; Touchstone’s gas supply; and ExxonMobil’s Canje block.


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. El Salvador turns to renewables; Costa Rica is saying good-bye to fossil fuels; and Polaris renegotiated terms for Nicaragua’s geothermal plant.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Haitian officials handed out gas to fight shortages; the Dominican Republic’s CNE awarded 100MW in renewable projects; and New Fortress secures an LNG supply agreement.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. BP offered the Limetree Bay refinery more time; WRB and GPP reached a settlement over Grenlec shares; and Touchstone will supply gas to NGC.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. ExxonMobil began working on the Canje block; Venezuela’s oil exports sank to 1940 levels; and Vestas has work to do in Colombia.


Déjà vu all over again. Last edition’s readers were particularly interested in St. Kitts and Nevis’ energy storage project (The St. Kitts Nevis Observer – English); Panama Canal’s bottleneck (Natural Gas Intel – English); and the Dominican Republic’s foreign investment (Dominican Today – English).



Government & NGO


Colombia’s inflation dropped thanks to COVID-19. Colombia reached the lowest inflation level since there is data due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on domestic demand (El Economista – Spanish). Prices will increase 1.45% in 2021, well under the Colombia central bank’s goal.


Guyana signs a new trade agreement with the UK. Guyana signed the new agreement guiding trade and investment between the UK and the CARIFORUM group of countries following the UK’s exit from the European Union (Jamaica Observer – English). CARIFORUM is made up of the member nations of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the Dominican Republic.


The World Bank expects big things from the Dominican Republic. After a contraction of 6.7% of its GDP in 2020, the Dominican Republic’s economy is expected to grow 4.8% in 2021 and 4.5% in 2022 (Dominican Today – English). There are optimistic projections for the industrial sector thanks to US$120m in investments made in the last quarter of 2020 (Dominican Today – English).


St. Vincent officials are concerned with La Soufriere volcano. Residents of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are warned to be on alert after the Soufriere volcano came back to life (Reuters – English). The government raised the alert level to orange.


Sint Maarten and the Netherlands reached a political agreement. The governments of the Netherlands and Sint Maarten reached a political agreement on the third tranche of liquidity support 2020 (Curacao Chronicle – English). In exchange for reforms on Sint Maarten, the Dutch cabinet will offer new liquidity support and investment.



Oil & Gas Upstream


COVID-19 hit Colombia’s oil sector and production. In 2021, Colombia’s oil sector is expected to continue suffering the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Colombia’s production in 2020 averaged 100,000 barrels per day less than in 2019, and November production fell 13.5% (Platts – English).


ExxonMobil began working on the Canje block. ExxonMobil started drilling at the Bulletwood-1 wellsite in the Canje block offshore Guyana. Bulletwood-1 is a 500 million bbl oil prospect and the drilling operations are expected to be completed on or before February 23 (OGJ – English).


The World Court will decide on the Guyana-Venezuela border dispute. The highest court of the UN will intervene to settle the border dispute between the Caribbean nations. The decision is more important now that ExxonMobil discovered massive amounts of oil in offshore fields that intersect with Venezuela’s claim (Jamaica Gleaner – English).


BPC started drilling at Perseverance 1. BPC announced the start of the drilling of Perseverance 1 offshore Bahamas (Energy Now – English). Oil exploration opponents argued BPC’s assertion that a mid-drilling halt will cause “unnecessary safety” risks contradicts BPC’s own environmental studies (Tribune 242 – English).


Venezuela’s oil industry has a bad 2021 on the way. The Caribbean nation’s oil industry will continue to decline in 2021. Venezuela’s crude production in December averaged 420,000 barrels per day, down from an average of 1.9 million barrels per day in 2017 (Platts – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


BP offered the Limetree Bay refinery more time. The oil giant gave the operator of the Limetree Bay refinery in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands more time to restart and retain its crude oil supply agreement after the plant did not reach its operating goals last year (Reuters – English). BP will supply up to 200,000 barrels per day to the refinery.


Venezuela’s oil exports sank to 1940 levels. PDVSA’s exports dropped down to 376,500 barrels per day in 2020 (Reuters – English). Venezuela’s exports of crude and refined products fell 37.5% in 2020 to 626,534 bpd, the lowest in 77 years.


Haitian officials handed out gas to fight shortages. Officials distributed 165,000 barrels of gasoline to be distributed at gas stations (Haitian Times – English). The National Association of Petroleum Products Distributors (ANADIPP) asked the Haitian National Police to help secure stations and the deliveries.


Costa Rica is saying good-bye to fossil fuels. Costa Rica is working on decarbonization, generating 99.7% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2020, and has installed 148 electric vehicle charging stations (Argus Media – English). Costa Rica still imported 22,500 barrels per day of gasoline, 2% less than in 2019.


Curacao named Curacao Oil Refinery Complex BV as its preferred bidder. RdK started negotiations with the consortium Curacao Oil Refinery Complex BV (Corc), while the island’s government will carry out parallel negotiations on the contract conditions (Argus Media – English). The Isla refinery had been operated by PDVSA since the mid-1980s.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Touchstone will supply gas to NGC. The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC) signed a natural gas supply agreement with Primera Oil and Gas Limited, a subsidiary of Touchstone Exploration. Primera will supply gas from the Ortoire Block in the Coho-1 field (Energy Now – English).


New Fortress secures new LNG supply agreements. New Fortress Energy signed two long-term LNG supply deals to feed units in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Nicaragua (Power-Eng – English). NFE has purchased LNG volumes equal to about 80% of its expected needs.


Colombia’s natural gas demand dropped 5.72% at the end of 2020. Natural gas demand for the last week of December was 824 GBtud, down from the 874 Gbtud registered in the previous week due to the decrease in economic activity during the holidays (Valora Analitik – Spanish).


Panama Canal delays hit Asia’s LNG prices. High consumer demand, lower-than-expected temperatures, and a shortage of prompt LNG supplies have resulted in northeast Asian spot LNG prices reaching an all-time high as well as delays for LNG carriers transiting the Panama Canal on route to Asia from LNG facilities in the US (Argus Media – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


El Salvador turns to renewables. IRENA offered 14 concrete actions that can speed up the country’s uptake of renewable energy (Energy Global – English). MPC Capital AG announced the completion of the San Isidro solar park project in El Salvador (MPC – English).


Vestas has work to do in Colombia. Vestas received a 504MW order for a project in Colombia. The project includes the installation of 90 V162-5.6 MW EnVentus wind turbines as well as a 15-year Active Output Management 5000 service agreement (EV Wind – English).


The NGC is working on the energy transition. The National Gas Company (NGC) of Trinidad and Tobago signed a memorandum of understanding with Trinity Exploration & Production to explore and develop new projects to enable energy transition in the Caribbean nation (Loop News Caribbean – English).


WRB and GPP reached a settlement over Grenlec shares. WRB Enterprises (WRB) and Grenada Private Power Limited (GPP) executed a settlement agreement with the government of Grenada to transfer their majority stake in Grenlec to the Grenadian government for US$63m (New Energy Events – English). Grenlec will continue to operate as a private company under the Companies Act (Now Grenada – English).


Polaris renegotiated the terms for Nicaragua’s geothermal plant. The Canadian company revised the terms of the power purchase agreement (PPA) for its San Jacinto geothermal power plant in Nicaragua, adding 10 more years to the contract life (Renewables Now – English).


Haiti received turbines for a power plant. Two turbines arrived in Haiti that will be used in the 55.5MW power plant in the Carrefour commune (Mega Diario – Spanish). The signed contract between Haiti and General Electric is valued at US$57m.


The Dominican Republic’s CNE awarded 100MW in renewable projects. The national energy commission (CNE) granted a provisional concession for two renewable energy projects that would add 100MW. Poseidón Energía Renovable will develop phase two of the Los Guzmanitos wind farm in Puerto Plata province and Migdal Energia, the 50MW Los Montones solar project in San Cristobal province (BN Americas – 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 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


Sun will power up cancer charity PALS. BE Solar installed a solar electricity system that will save cancer charity PALS US$6,000 per year on energy bills (Royal Gazette – English). The company won a competitive process to install the 11.97kW system on the roof of the PALS building in Paget.



Quote of the Week


“I am the mudbag reservoir of your labor.

In me, you came to speak to each other of pain,

of love, of freedom, of union.”



– Lasana M. Sekou (1959), poet, essayist, and Publisher from Saint Martin.


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