The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


January 25, 2020 edition–Heritage’s E&P license; Aruba’s LNG terminal; and Prepa’s procurements.


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala will launch three oil auctions; and the IMF okayed a PLL for Panamá.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The Dominican Republic’s renewable energy generation will skyrocket; Puerto Rico’s PREPA issued six procurements for solar and storage; and Trade Winds will team up with New Fortress.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Heritage signed an E&P license; Aruba’s LNG terminal will have bunkers; and Trinidad & Tobago granted Patriotic 15 days to secure the refinery.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Total awarded Maersk Drilling two floater contracts; and Colombia’s thermopower plants boost natural gas demand.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Panamá’s new gas to power project (BN Americas – English); the Dominican Republic and Haiti’s collaboration (Dominican Today – English); and Exxon’s finds in Guyana (Oil Price – English).



Government & NGO


Colombia seized an arms shipment. Colombian police are investigating whether a shipment of guns and magazines originating from the United States that was seized by authorities late on Saturday was destined for Venezuela (Reuters – English). A male suspect is thought to have been waiting to receive the arms.


US blacklisted Cuba’s Interior Minister. The US assigned sanctions on Cuba’s interior minister, accusing him of serious human rights abuses as Washington maintained sanctions into the final days of President Trump’s administration (Reuters – English). The US Treasury Department mentioned Cuban dissident José Daniel Ferrer, saying he had been detained and reportedly beaten and tortured.


El Salvador’s exports dropped in 2020. El Salvador’s exports closed with a fall of US$913.2m in 2020, setting the sector back 10 years due to the economic crisis of COVID-19 (El Mundo – Spanish). Exports fell 15.4%.


The IMF okayed a PLL for Panamá. The International Monetary Fund approved a two-year arrangement for Panamá under the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL) for US$2.7bn (IMF – English). The PLL will serve as insurance against extreme external shocks stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The IDB will expand its partnership to foster Caribbean growth. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and PepsiCo signed a new memorandum of understanding extending their public-private partnership until 2026 to carry out programs that will drive solar and economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean (Jamaica Observer – English).


Guatemala tear gassed Honduran migrants. Approximately 100 Honduran migrants were met with tear gas and hit with batons when they tried to cross the border into Guatemala (VOA News – English). The group of migrants were part of roughly 2,000 Hondurans who stopped behind the roadblock.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Total awarded Maersk Drilling two floater contracts. Total E&P Suriname awarded Maersk Drilling two floater contracts for the deepwater rigs Maersk Valiant and Maersk Developer for exploration and appraisal in Suriname Block 58 (OGJ – English). The rigs will be employed for an estimated 500-day combined total duration.


Heritage signed an E&P license. Heritage Petroleum Company Limited announced the completion of negotiations with the government of Trinidad & Tobago for a new exploration and production license in its offshore acreage (Energy Now – English). The new license combines the entire acreage of both the Trinmar Licensed Area and the North Marine Licensed Area.


Colombia needs more gas with falling production. The Caribbean nation is fighting to maintain its promise of offering cleaner energy sources, where gas can play an important role, while its natural gas production is dropping (Natural Gas World – English). Natural gas generates 8% of Colombian energy.


Venezuela is open to foreign oil investment. President Nicolás Maduro said the Caribbean country is opening up to foreign investment in its oil industry to reverse the drop in output due to US sanctions (Oil Price – English). Venezuela expects to pump 1.5 million barrels of oil daily, which will depend on help from foreign partners.


Guatemala will launch three oil auctions. The Energy and Mines Ministry will bid out three oil areas for 200,500 hectares (El – Spanish). Guatemala’s oil production fell 20.48% from January to November 2020.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Citgo remains in limbo. US District Judge Leonard Stark in Delaware dismissed Venezuela’s motion to delay the sale of Citgo shares to one of its creditors, Crystallex International (Platts – English). The ruling helps further open the door to make claims on Citgo’s assets.


Trinidad & Tobago granted Patriotic 15 days to secure the refinery. The government of Trinidad & Tobago said Patriotic Energies & Technologies is the preferred bidder for certain assets of Guaracara Refining Company Limited and Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited (News Gov TT – English). The cabinet gave Patriotic 15 days to secure financing for the acquisition.


Ecopetrol saw oil theft skyrocket. Theft of crude oil from the Colombian state-owned company’s pipelines increased by 46% last year (Economic Times – English). On average, 2,638 barrels per day of oil were stolen last year, up from 1,806 bpd in 2019, the spokesman said.


Venezuela’s fuel swaps may restart with Biden. Advocacy groups and oil companies will press the incoming US administration to reverse the ban on crude-for-diesel swaps (Reuters – English). The Trump administration had barred oil swaps since the last quarter of 2020.


India plans to import oil from Iran and Venezuela. India hopes to diversify its oil suppliers under the new US administration with more relaxed restrictions on oil exports from Iran and Venezuela (Oil Price – English). India stopped importing oil from Iran in May 2019 and has significantly cut purchases from Venezuela.


PDVSA completed the oil transfer from an offshore facility. The state-owned company completed the first half of a crude transfer from an offshore oil facility (Hellenic Shipping News – English). PDVSA in December began offloading crude from the Nabarima floating storage and offloading facility (FSO).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombia’s thermopower plants boost natural gas demand. Natural gas demand increased 2.2% in 2020 due to the increasing demand from thermoelectric plants (BN Americas – English). Demand peaked in January and February, when SNT volumes reached 968BBTU/d and 987BBTU/d, respectively.


Trade Winds will team up with New Fortress. The beverage maker Trade Winds Citrus is turning from bunker oil to LNG as a fuel source for the company’s steam generator plant and boiler and has hired New Fortress Energy to supply the LNG (Jamaica Gleaner – English).


Kremi may power up with LNG suppliers. The ice cream maker plans to invest US$2m in a combined heat and power plant. Kremi is in discussions with LNG suppliers, including New Fortress Energy, about fueling the plant (Jamaica Gleaner – English).


Aruba’s LNG terminal will have bunkers. Eagle LNG signed a letter of exclusivity with Refineria di Aruba (RdA) to set up an LNG terminal with bunkering facilities (Bunker Spot – English). The LNG terminal will serve as an LNG bunker station for LNG powered ships.



Electric Power & Renewables


Trina Solar will supply panels for a Dominican Republic solar project. The Chinese solar panels maker said it will supply panels for the 120MW Girasol project in the Dominican Republic (Renewables Now – English). The $100 million USD (EUR 82.5m) project is developed by Dominican power producer Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Hain.


Puerto Rico’s PREPA issued six procurements for solar and storage. The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau ordered PREPA to issue six procurements in the next 30 months, including 3.75GW of solar and 1.5GW of four-hour storage or their equivalents (PV Magazine – English).


The Dominican Republic’s renewable energy generation will skyrocket. Empresa de Generación Hidroeléctrica Dominicana (Egehid) forecasted that hydroelectric energy and other renewables will increase by 334.46MW by 2024 (Dominican Today – English). This projection is based on the energy generation of 11 projects.


Isagen bought Trina Solar’s solar projects in Colombia. The Colombian power company purchased two solar projects with a combined capacity of 52.4MWp from Trina Solar (Renewables Now – English). The power producer and retailer bought the 27.4MWp Llanos IV and the 25MWp Llanos V projects located in Puerto Gaitan.



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


South Korea and Costa Rica will work on green projects together. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his Costa Rican counterpart discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to promote a green and emissions-free economy ( – English). Carlos Alvarado expressed his gratitude to South Korea for support related to the antivirus fight.



Quote of the Week


“The sea is a spirit, little one. And the spirit is a woman in a lovely blue gown.”



– Angela Barry, Bermudian writer and educator.


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