The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


January 6, 2020 edition– Guyana’s production; Haiti’s sun; and Tullow’s finding.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Honduras may face power shortages; Neoen is making progress on its solar plant; and Nicaragua and Guatemala power up with sugar cane.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Haiti is replacing diesel with the sun; the Dominican Republic has a new natural gas pipeline; and Cuba’s economy is surviving US sanctions.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Touchstone found oil in Trinidad & Tobago; Curaçao found a new refinery operator; and the CDB will improve Barbuda’s energy network.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Guyana began commercial oil production; Colombia went big on renewables; and the US cut Venezuelan flows…but they are recovering.


Déjà vu all over again. Last edition’s readers were particularly interested in the natural gas conversion of 750MW (Dominican Today – English); and Colombia’s LNG terminal (Mundo Martitimo – Spanish).



Government & NGO


The IMF will boost Barbados with US$48m. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) okayed a drawdown of US$48m for Barbados (Central Bank of Barbados – English) (IMF – English). The IMF assured Barbados continues making good progress in implementing its economic reform program.


The CDB will lend a hand to The Bahamas and Barbados. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) approved a US$50m loan to support The Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian (Caribank – English). The CDB will lend US$75m to Barbados to assist the government’s reform program (Caribank – English).


Cuba’s economy is surviving US sanctions. According to the Cuban economy minister, the island’s economy remained in the black in 2019 and 1% growth is expected in 2020 (Reuters – English). The Trump administration has sanctioned more than 200 Cuban companies.


Colombia maintained its interest rate and increased its Central American investments. Colombia’s central bank held its interest rate at 4.25% as inflation and growth risks diminish (Reuters – English). Colombia maintained its leading position in foreign direct investment in Central America for five years in a row (El Financiero – Spanish).


Guatemala said good-bye to 2019 with 3.3% growth. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that Guatemala was one of two Latin American countries (together with Colombia) registering faster economic growth in 2019 than in 2018, with the GDP expanding 3.3% (DCA – Spanish).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Touchstone found oil in Trinidad & Tobago. The Canadian company made a “significant crude oil discovery” in the Cascadura field in Ortoire (Pride News – English). Touchstone announced the final production test results for the Coho-1 well suggest an Absolute Open Flow (AOF) rate of 46.0 million cubic feet per day (Energy Now – English).


Orinoco crude production went up slightly in December. Production levels by PDVSA and its partners in the Orinoco belt rose to 38.5% of its maximum capacity, reaching 500,000 barrels per day, up from 435,000 barrels per day (Platts – English). Power failures and the low availability of diluents continue to affect crude production.


BP handed a three-well contract to Maersk Drilling. Maersk Drilling obtained a three-well contract for the rig Maersk Discoverer from BP for development drilling at the Matapal project (Energy Now – English). The contract will last 322 days and start in July 2020.


Guyana officially became an oil producer. Three months ahead of schedule, Guyana started commercial production from the Liza field offshore, declaring December 20 as National Petroleum Day (Jamaica Observer – English). The new oil sector’s goal is to transform the country’s economic development and increase employment and services.


Trinidad & Tobago will count on Development Driller III and Noble Regina Allen. The semisubmersible Development Driller III has been awarded a one-year contract off the coast of Trinidad & Tobago, to start in the second quarter of 2020 (Energy Now – English). BHP secured the Noble Regina Allen rig for work in Trinidad in September 2020 (Energy Now – English).


Trinidad & Tobago increased gas production. Natural gas production during the third quarter of 2019 increased to more than 3,600 million cubic feet per day, a 3.7% increase compared to the same period last year (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The increase took place despite maintenance shutdowns at two large platforms.


Tullow found oil at Carapa-1. Tullow announced that the Carapa-1 exploration well found four meters of net oil pay based on preliminary interpretation (Energy Now – English). The discovered oil is 27 degrees API with a sulphur content of less than 1%.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Guyana chose Shell Western to buy its first 3 million barrels. The Guyana government selected the Barbados-based Shell Western Supply and Trading Limited to buy the first 3 million barrels of Liza crude as the country enters its introductory phase to the global fuel market (Jamaica Observer – English) (Platts – English).


The US cut Venezuelan flows…but they are recovering. US sanctions on PDVSA cut 500,000 barrels per day of crude flows from Venezuela to Gulf Coast refineries since January 2019. However, in recent weeks, output and exports have recovered thanks to Rosneft and some Chinese companies (Platts – English).


Curaçao sealed the deal for a new refinery operator. Refineria Di Korsou NV signed an asset purchase and sales agreement with Klesch Group. Klesch will take operational control of RdK’s Isla refinery at Emmastad, Curaçao, as well as an associated utilities plant and the Bullenbay oil terminal (OGJ – English).


PDVSA delivered fuel after shortages as a Christmas present. The state-owned company sent fuel deliveries to various parts of the South American country after acute gasoline shortages in Venezuela’s interior reached Caracas (Reuters – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


The Dominican Republic has a new natural gas pipeline. Energía Natural Dominicana (EnaDOM) cut the ribbon on a 50km pipeline that allowed power plants to convert 750MW of fuel oil to natural gas (Dominican Today – English). The transformation will take place in the first half of 2020.


The IDB will fund an LNG plant in El Salvador. The Inter-American Development Bank will finance the construction of the first LNG plant in El Salvador with US$60m (El Mundo – Spanish). The goal is to decrease El Salvador’s dependency on liquid fossil fuels and power imports.


EDP secured funds for the first natural gas plant in El Salvador. Energía del Pacífico (EDP) obtained funding for the construction of the first natural gas plant in Acajutla, Sonsonate, in El Salvador (El Mundo – Spanish). The plant would generate 378MW and would include a storage unit and floating regasification unit.



Electric Power & Renewables


Colombia went big on renewables. Enel Green Power put the biggest solar park in Colombia to work (Energía Limpia para Todos – Spanish). EDP Renewables was awarded two 15-year Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) at the renewable auction (Go Eco Green – English). Medellín Colombia will power up its subway with wind and solar (English).


Honduras may face power shortages. The Honduran Private Company Board asked the Honduran government to cancel the energy generators’ debt, which reached US$568, or by June 2020 there would be important power rationings (Central America Data – Spanish). In October 2018, an agreement was signed to reform the power sector but only the increase of tariffs took effect.


The CDB will improve Barbuda’s energy network. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) okayed a grant to reconstruct and rehabilitate Barbuda’s energy network with GBP 2.85m (Caribank – English). The current electricity system is completely reliant on imported fossil fuel and vulnerable to severe damage from high winds.


Neoen is making progress on its solar plant. Neoen is in the final construction stage of the solar park Capella Solar, now 90% complete (Central America Data – Spanish). Capella Solar will add 4% to El Salvador’s wholesale power market.


Nicaragua and Guatemala power up with sugar cane. Renewable energy in Nicaragua boosted national energy production by 75.3%, thanks to sugar cane biomass that represented 30% of the total capacity (Energía Limpia para Todos – Spanish). Guatemala’s power sector will produce 2,054 GWh from sugar cane (DCA – Spanish).


Haiti is replacing diesel with the sun. The Inter-American Development Bank published a request for expressions of interest, seeking consultants to define a tender process for two large-scale solar power and storage projects in Haiti (PV-Magazine – English). The industrial park will no longer be powered by a 10MW heavy fuel oil and diesel power plant.



Old School Social


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


S&P Global Platts 20th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference is scheduled for January 29-31 at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, in Puerto Rico. The leading energy conference in the Caribbean gathers global professionals to discuss regional trends, including power finance and investment, fuel options, IMO, microgrids, infrastructure, natural gas, and much more.



Lateral Thinking


CUC is mixing art and renewables. The Caribbean Utilities Company installed the first SmartFlower 2.5-kilowatt system that opens in the morning tracking the sun and closes at sunset (Cayman Compass – English). The solar flower has an aesthetic quality and costs between US$30,000 and US$35,000.



Quote of the Week


“¿La Patria?

¿Qué es la Patria?

Ideal de justicia, de Libertad y Gloria;

aspiración suprema de juveniles corazones ávidos

de más luz y más luz en su camino.”


“The nation?

What is the nation?

The ideals of justice, freedom, and glory;

Supreme aspiration of young hearts looking for more light and more light in their path.”



– María Olimpia de Obaldía (1891-1985), Panamanian poet. Extract from the poem “January’s martyr.”




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