The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


July 5, 2020 edition–The Dominican Republic’s new renewables procedures; BPTT’s Cassia C platform; and Colombia’s hydrogen.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America.

El Salvador’s economy grew by 3% in the first quarter; El Salvador’s CMI went for solar power; and natural gas prices go up and the Panama Canal is congested.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The Dominican Republic’s CNE set new procedures for renewables; Jamaicans will pay more for fuel; and the Dominican Republic’s Deputies okayed oil exploration.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. BPTT’s Cassia C platform goes to Trinidad & Tobago; and Bermudas’ inflation rate reached 0.9% in April.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. TotalEnergies got Suriname’s Blocks 6 and 8; Colombia to launch a hydrogen road map; and PDVSA restarted a drilling campaign stopped in 2019.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in LS Energía Dominicana’s cancellation (BN Americas – English); the Dominican Republic’s competitiveness (IADB – English); and Colombia’s natural gas future (Portafolio – Spanish).



Government & NGO


The World Bank will back Guyana’s COVID-19 response. The World Bank approved US$6m in additional financing for the COVID-19 Emergency Response Project to support access to COVID-19 vaccines and ensure effective vaccine deployment in the Caribbean nation (World Bank – English).


El Salvador’s economy grew by 3% in the first quarter. According to El Salvador’s central bank, the Central American economy registered a 3.04% growth in the first quarter of 2021 (El Mundo – Spanish). The result is an improvement from the 0.07% registered in the same period in 2020.


The Dominican Republic’s central bank expects an 8% growth. The Caribbean nation’s central bank conservatively expects between 8% and 9% economic growth in 2021 (Dominican Today – English). The central bank will make between RD$7bn and RD$8bn available for the sectors “that want to borrow.”


Cuba is facing a harsh food shortage. The Caribbean island is facing its worst shortage of food since the 1990s. The government blames the shortage on US sanctions. In fact, the US, the largest exporter of food to Cuba, sent their lowest level since 2002 last year (Economist – English).


A wave of violence threatens Port-au-Prince. A bloody wave of shootings, arson, and other criminal violence in Haiti’s capital is forcing thousands of people to flee their homes (CNN – English). Armed groups have targeted local police and set fire to swathes of civilian homes as well as a camp populated by people with disabilities.


Bermudas’ inflation rate reached 0.9% in April. The Caribbean nation’s inflation rate increased to 0.9% in April. The transport and foreign travel sector rose by 2.7%. A 4.9% increase in the fuel adjustment clause caused the fuel and power sector to increase 1.5% (Royal Gazette – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


TotalEnergies got Suriname’s Blocks 6 and 8. TotalEnergies and its partner Qatar Petroleum will operate these blocks in shallow water with depths between 30 meters and 50 meters, next to the TotalEnergies-operated Block 58 (Energy Now – English). TotalEnergies will operate the blocks with a 40% working interest, alongside Qatar Petroleum (20%) and Staatsolie (40%).


BPTT’s Cassia C platform goes to Trinidad & Tobago. BP’s Cassia C platform sailed from the Altamira fabrication yard in Mexico to Trinidad & Tobago, and it is expected to arrive in two weeks (Energy Now – English). The Cassia Compression project will enable BPTT to access and produce low pressure gas reserves from currently producing fields.


The Bahamas’ oil opponents want to end the legal roadblock. Oil exploration opponents offered to pay US$100,000 to the former BPC’s attorneys to remove all legal roadblocks (Tribune 242 – English). The failure to meet the required joint bank account left the legal challenge “stayed” and unable to move forward for two and a half months.


The Dominican Republic’s Deputies okayed oil exploration. The Chamber of Deputies approved the contract between Apache Dominican Republic Corporation LDC (contractor) and the Dominican State to explore and exploit hydrocarbons in the Costa Afuera SP2 area of the San Petro de Macorís basin (Dominican Today – English).


PDVSA restarted a drilling campaign stopped in 2019. The state-owned company will restart the drilling in oil wells and intensify the work to open 3,700 closed wells and to recover compression and gas injection capacity needed to increase crude output (Platts – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The Dominican Republic will keep its fuel prices unchanged. The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Mipymes (MICM) reported that the price of gasoline, LPG, and other fuels will remain unchanged for the week (Dominican Today – English). The increases should have been 14.16 pesos per gallon to LPG and 13 pesos for premium gasoline and 14 for regular.


India got its first Guyanese oil. Indian Oil Corp made its first purchase of Guyana’s Liza light sweet crude to diversify its crude purchases. The 1 million-barrel cargo will sail around July 4 and it is expected to arrive around August 8 (Hellenic Shipping News – English).


Jamaicans will pay more for fuel. Auto users will pay higher gasoline and diesel prices after July 1 (Jamaica Observer – English). Gasoline will be sold for J$152.61 and J$158.78 per liter of 87- and 90-octane gasoline, while diesel will be sold for J$143.64 per liter.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


South America can’t get enough LNG. According to NGI, Latin America has been the destination of 16% of total US LNG cargoes (Natural Gas Intel – English). Brazil has received 20 US cargoes, followed by Chile at 13.5, but with the Southern Cone winter starting, the numbers are expected to rise.


Esso Exploration and Production Guyana plan a gas-powered project. The ExxonMobil subsidiary submitted an environmental authorization request to Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency for the construction, commissioning, and operation of an onshore natural gas liquids and natural gas processing plant (BN Americas – English).


Natural gas prices go up and the Panama Canal is congested. Natural gas prices are increasing with the rise in demand due to summer temperatures. The chance of congestion at the Panama Canal is “very high,” forcing US LNG cargoes going to Asia to take longer passages around the Cape of Good Hope or the Suez Canal, limiting availability (World Oil – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


Vestas powers up in Dominican Republic. The Danish company said it received a 47MW order in the Dominican Republic (Renewables Now – English). Under the deal, Vestas will supply and install equipment from its 4MW platform and provide a 10-year Active Output Management 5000 service contract.


Colombia to launch a hydrogen road map. The Caribbean nation will present plans in September to develop the production and use of hydrogen as a long-term clean energy source (Reuters – English). The 30-year plan will include the use and export of hydrogen as a clean energy source for use in transport and industry.


The Dominican Republic’s CNE okayed four solar concessions. The national energy commission granted four provisional solar concessions to EFD Ecoener Fotovoltaica Dominicana, IE DR Projects I, Renewable Energy World Dominicus, and Zonaxol, reaching 200MWn (BN Americas – English). The companies have 18 months to conduct studies leading to the definitive concessions.


El Salvador’s CMI went for solar power. Corporación Multi Inversiones (CMI), owner of Pollo Campero, installed solar panels in four food production plants in the country (El Mundo – Spanish). The company installed 4,500 solar panels with a 1,900 kWp capacity.


The Dominican Republic’s CNE set new procedures for renewables. The National Energy Commission (CNE) published the procedure for petitioners to process applications for concessions for power generation under the modality of solar, hydro, and wind hybridization (Dominican Today – English).


Puerto Rico should consider its renewable future. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) sent a plan to FEMA to use the FEMA’s US$9.6bn for the electric system work perpetuating the use of fossil fuels. The plan also includes the spending of at least US$853m on two new natural gas-powered plants (The Hill – 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 8th Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held on September 8-10.



Lateral Thinking


InterEnergy Group goes all in on Caribbean renewables. InterEnergy Group highlighted its commitments to the development of renewable energies (Dominican Today – English). At the end of 2020, InterEnergy acquired the 34MW Matafongo wind farm in the Dominican Republic and recently joined AES to build a 670mMW gas plant in Panamá.



Quote of the Week


“Su propio yo era demasiado intenso, y demasiado oscura la cueva de su introspección.”


“His own self was too intense, and too dark the cave of his introspection.”



– Sergio Ramírez Mercado (1942), Nicaraguan writer and intelectual.




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