The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


January 18, 2020 edition–Total and Apache’s discovery; Panamá’s natural gas-powered plant; and Venezuela’s bad crude.


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. The Panama Canal is still suffering LNG congestion; Guatemala’s budget is still under discussion; and Generadora de Gatún plans a 670MW natural gas-powered plant in Panamá.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. InterEnergy is all over the Dominican Republic’s wind; a committee will oversee the LUMA Energy contract; and Cuba said no to Venezuela’s bad crude.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. The BPC will move to Trinidad and Suriname drilling this year; and France’s islands got a sweet solar-plus-storage deal.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Total and Apache hit black gold in Suriname; Fortescue is reviewing Guyana’s renewable future; and Exxon will focus on Guyana.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in New Fortress’ deal (Power-Eng – English); the Dominican Republic’s solar (BN Americas – English); and Costa Rica’s decarbonization (Argus Media – English).



Government & NGO


Guatemala’s budget is still under discussion. Vice President Guillermo Castillo met representatives from different sectors to define a budget proposal to be presented before Congress (DCA – Spanish). The issues of vaccination and social programs have been considered in the budget.


Nicaragua’s exports fell 4% in 2020. The volume of Nicaragua’s exports in 2020 fell 4% compared to 2019. Although traditional goods sales abroad generated 6.3% more income than in 2019, the volume fell (La Prensa – Spanish). Among the products are coffee, sugar, peanuts, shrimp, lobster, oil, rum, and wheat flour.


The Dominican Republic and Haiti will collaborate. The presidents of the Dominican Republic and Haiti signed nine agreements in which they agreed to confront irregular migratory flows and issues of trade, maritime borders, sovereignty, and health (Dominican Today – English) (Amico Hoops – English).


Cuba experienced a coronavirus surge. The Cuban government is shutting down schools, public transport, and cultural activities across swaths of the Caribbean nation during the worst outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic since it began (Reuters – English). Cuba registered daily records of infections for the last six days.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Exxon will focus on Guyana. Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, weaker oil prices, and the fall in oil demand, there are doubts about Exxon’s capacity to face its debt and losses. However, the company will prioritize the Guyana-Suriname Basin (Oil Price – English), drilling at the Bulletwood-1 well site (OE Digital – English).


Total and Apache hit black gold in Suriname. Total and Apache Corporation made an oil and gas discovery at the Keskesi East-1 well in Block 58 off the coast of Suriname (Energy Now – English). The well encountered a total of 63 meters net pay of hydrocarbons.


BPC finances are in sight. Environmental activists used the Bahamas Petroleum Company’s latest corporate filing to argue that the company lacks sufficient funding for its first well (Tribune 242 – English). The company had $32.5m in cash to cover the Perseverance One well’s $35m costs when it mobilized the Stena IceMAX drill ship.


The BPC will move to Trinidad and Suriname drilling this year. The Bahamas Petroleum Company expects target production to be up to 2,500 bopd by the end of 2021. BPC’s new Trinidad drilling in Saffron-2 is due to start during January (ProActive Investors – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Cuba said no to Venezuela’s bad crude. Cuban authorities refused a fuel cargo of 500,000 barrels from Venezuela due to the high viscosity of the crude (Diario Las Américas – Spanish). The barrels were expected to be sent to the Felton thermoelectric plant in Holguín.


Venezuela’s oil exports reached a new low. According to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, the Caribbean nation shipped 500,000 barrels per day in 2020, the lowest level since 1990, when records began. Currently there are 12 shipments on the water for 14m barrels heading to United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia, China, and one ship to Cuba (Lloyds List – English).


Guatemala and El Salvador do not need as much US diesel. US exports of diesel fell 518,000 barrels a day to 714,000, for the lowest level since September 2017 (Bloomberg – English). California refiners’ inventories are at their highest level since January 2018, with Chile, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, and El Salvador being the main clients.


The Dominican Republic government will face higher fuel prices. The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Mipymes will assume part of the increase in fuel prices “to avoid an impact on the citizen’s pocket” (Dominican Today – English). The Caribbean nation will not transfer to the population a total of RD$63,110,189.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


New Fortress Energy will provide LNG in Brazil. New Fortress Energy (NFE) will acquire Hygo Energy Transition and Golar LNG Partners to become the leading gas-to-power company in Brazil (Business Wire – English). NFE will acquire an operating floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) terminal.


Generadora de Gatún plans a 670MW natural gas-powered plant in Panamá. Generadora de Gatún has a provisional license from Asep for the 670MW Gatún natural gas-powered project (BNAmericas – English). The plant would be located in the Colón province and could contribute to Panamá’s energy goal of increasing natural gas and LNG use.


The Panama Canal is still suffering LNG congestion. Panama Canal congestion led to waiting times of between 7 and 10 days or more for LNG vessels (Reuters – English). Delays through the Panama Canal were explained due to weather disruptions, higher than expected LNG traffic, and tanker shipments of LPG.



Electric Power & Renewables


InterEnergy is all over the Dominican Republic’s wind. InterEnergy purchased the 34MW Matafongo wind farm and an under-development project pipeline in the Dominican Republic (Renewables Now – English) (Diario Libre – Spanish). Matafongo could expand its current capacity to 50MW.


Fortescue is reviewing Guyana’s renewable future. The Australian company is exploring Guyana’s renewable energy opportunities (Guyana Times GY – English). Fortescue considered the development of the Amaila Falls project and large-scale operations requiring renewable energy output.


Edesur and Evergo will plug in charging stations. The companies Edesur Dominicana and Evergo signed an agreement to enable electric vehicle charging stations in commercial and residential areas (Dominican Today – English). The agreement will contribute to the country’s commitment before the Climate Summit and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


A committee will oversee the LUMA Energy contract. Puerto Rico’s Governor Pedro Pierluisi announced the creation of a steering committee to oversee the public-private partnership for the transmission and distribution of electric power granted to LUMA Energy (Caribbean Business – English).


France’s islands got a sweet solar-plus-storage deal. Developers on island territories including Guadeloupe, Corsica, and Martinique, as well as French Guyana, were awarded contracts for 50MW of solar PV capacity each year since 2016 (Energy-Storage – 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


The USDA seeks energy grant applications. The US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development department invited applications for loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements, conduct energy audits, and provide development assistance (Caribbean Business – English).



Quote of the Week


“Just once before I die

I want to climb up on a

tenement sky

to dream my lungs out till

I cry

then scatter my ashes thru

the Lower East Side.”



– Miguel Piñero (1946-1988), playwright, actor, and co-founder of the Nuyotican Poets Café.


We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or energy grants to


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