The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


January 27, 2020 edition– Panama’s LNG project; Barbados’ power plant; and Guyana, the new oil exporter.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Panama’s new LNG project is on its way; Honduras’ malls will be powered up by solar; and Guatemala’s direct foreign investment will increase in 2020.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Massy Holdings wants in on Jamaica’s LNG market; and Cuba will power up with sicklebush and husk.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Aruba is considering an end to Citgo’s lease; and Barbados awarded Wärtsilä a power plant project.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Chevron’s waiver in Venezuela was extended to April; Guyana became an oil exporter; and Venezuela’s oil sector could be revived with guarantees.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Antigua’s Petrocaribe discount (Pridenews – English); Jamaica’s “drill or drop” decision (Proactive Investors – English); and PDVSA’s partners’ trading (Reuters – English).



Government & NGO


The Bank of Jamaica is concerned about inflation. The Bank of Jamaica said the December 2019 increase in inflation to 6.2% will be temporary. The inflation increase was higher than the bank’s target of 4%-6% (Jamaica Observer – English).


The IMF and Fitch okayed El Salvador’s 2020 budget. The International Monetary Fund congratulated El Salvador on its 2020 budget approval (El Mundo – Spanish). The rating agency Fitch warned that the 2020 budget keeps increasing the debt without a consolidation (El Mundo – Spanish).


Pompeo tries to make friends in the Caribbean and warns about China. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he is not trying to divide the region after some governments complained that only certain countries were invited to meetings with him (Reuters – English). Pompeo warned the Caribbean nations against China’s “easy money” (Reuters – English).


The US increased pressure on Venezuela while Guaidó met foreign leaders. The US sanctioned 15 of PDVSA’s aircraft for operating in an unsafe and unprofessional manner close to US military aircraft and transporting senior members of the Maduro government (Reuters – English). Guaidó met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell (Reuters – English).


Guatemala’s direct foreign investment will increase in 2020. This year, direct foreign investment in Guatemala is expected to grow 3.5%, according to Guatemala’s central bank. Although that only represents 2.5% of GDP, it has remained stable despite changing conditions  (DCA – Spanish).



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Oil & Gas Upstream


Chevron’s waiver in Venezuela was extended to April. The US Treasury Department extended a sanctions waiver to Chevron, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, and Weatherford International for three months (Platts – English) (Expansion – Spanish).The waiver now expires on April 22, and it is the third three-month extension.


Venezuela’s oil sector could revive with guarantees. According to a report by The Inter-American Dialogue, oil majors could revive Venezuela’s oil sector if they are offered political stability and long-term regulatory certainty (The Dialogue – English). However, the country faces a highly competitive supply environment and the need for a multifaceted economic recovery plan.


BPC showcased its £2m investment fund. The £2m investment fund was showcased by the BPC to institutional investors (Tribune 242 – English). The BPC expects the company could transform the Bahamian economy if its oil exploration activities are successful.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Guyana became an oil exporter. The Yannis P crude oil tanker arrived in Guyana to deliver the first 1 million barrels of crude from the Stabroek block. ExxonMobil will process the first cargo in its refining system (Nation News – English).


Aruba is considering an end to Citgo’s lease. RdA is expected to sign an agreement with Citgo Aruba Holding and its subsidiaries ending the long-term lease on the assets that was signed by PdV in 2016 (Argus – English). PdV planned to refurbish the San Nicolas refinery.


Transneft Diascan will inspect Colombia’s pipelines. In 2020, the company plans to continue its international inline inspection projects, including pipeline inspections for Colombia (World Pipelines – English). Transneft Diascan is using an ultrasonic flaw detector, a new type of inline inspection tool.


Venezuela and Cuba plan to strengthen their oil ties. Venezuela pledged to restart its oil supply to Cuba in a push to relaunch its PetroCaribe regional oil supply program (Argus – English). The program will be restarted during the first half of 2020.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


New Fortress secured financing to expand in the region. The only natural gas supplier in Jamaica has obtained US$800m of financing for its expansion program (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The funds will pay for a previous loan, for the expansion in and outside the region, and for the power plant in Clarendon.


Massy Holdings wants in on Jamaica’s LNG market. The Trinidadian conglomerate plans to become an LNG distributor in Jamaica to complement its cooking gas operation. Massey’s entry seems to be a partnership with New Fortress Energy (Jamaica’s only supplier) rather than a rivalry pushing to substitute LPG with LNG (Jamaica Gleaner – English).


Panama’s new LNG project is on its way. Panama’s government accepted the environmental impact report for the floating storage unit for the new LNG terminal (BNAmericas – Spanish). The related 441MW power plant would be the second LNG-fired power plant in the country after AES Colón’s 381MW plant in 2018.


Colombia bets on renewables, but needs gas. Colombia’s Mines and Energy Minister said that investments are being made in renewable energy production, but the country still needs gas for the next 10 years to secure a stable power matrix (El Espectador – Spanish).



Electric Power & Renewables


Honduras’ malls will be powered up by solar. Enertiva and the Lady Lee Corporation have signed a contract to install Phase III of solar plants, the fourth and fifth projects to be developed in the corporation’s malls in Honduras (PV Magazine – Spanish).


The Inter-American Dialogue analyzed and compared power auctions in Latin America. The report Clean Energy Auctions in Latin America analyzed power auctions in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and Jamaica (The Dialogue – English). Jamaica was chosen as a renewable auction pioneer in the region as it tries to stop its dependence on imported fuel.


Cuba will power up with sicklebush and husk. The fist bioelectric plant in Cuba that will generate power with sicklebush and husk is performing tests to go on the grid. The plant is expected to save 100,000 barrels of oil per year when it becomes operational (Diario Libre – Spanish).


Puerto Rico’s solar power withstood the earthquakes. Solar microgrids that are off the grid endured the 6.4-magnitude quake and kept working while the national grid suffered damages around the island, making an argument for transitioning to microgrids on a large scale (New Energy Events – English).


The Dominican Republic added more solar power. The first phase of the Solar Canoa farm started operations. Potentia Renewables invested US$45m in the 25MW facility in the Dominican Republic’s Canoa community (Renewables now – English).


Barbados awarded Wärtsilä a power plant project. Wärtsilä won a contract to supply a 33MW power plant on a fast-track basis to the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BLPC) (New Energy Events – English). The contract will include Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) services for the project.



Old School Social


Events in the world beyond your screen—go see and be seen!


The SPE Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference is scheduled for March 17-19 in Bogotá.



Lateral Thinking


The UNDP will back four startups in Barbados. The United Nations Development Program’s Blue Economy Accelerator Lab in Barbados awarded blue lab funding to four startups that will receive US$15,000 in funding. Two winners make biodegradable products from sargassum seaweed and develop biogas and fuel from fish offal (New Energy Events – English).



Quote of the Week


“La poetisa recoge hierba de entretiempo,

pan viejo, ceniza especial de cuchillo;

hierbas para el suceso y las iniciaciones.”


“The poet picks grass of the change of seasons,

Old bread, special ash of knife;

Grass for the event and the inductions.”



– Ana Enriqueta Terán (1918-2017), Venezuelan diplomat and poet.




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