The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


July 13, 2020 edition–United Oil’s future in Jamaica; Barbados’ waste-to-energy plant; and Canacol’s investment.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Honduras and Guatemala will pay more for fuel; Panamá goes all in on renewables; and the IADB will help Honduras fight COVID-19.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. United Oil will decide on Jamaica’s plans by September; Taiwan will fund a natural gas-powered plant in Haiti; and the Dominican Republic okayed 162MWp in solar.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Barbados plans a waste-to-energy facility at Vaucluse.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Venezuela’s crude production dropped to 280,000 barrels per day; Canacol Energy will bet big in Colombia; and Colombian pilot fracking programs will be up and running in two months.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the St. Croix refinery’s price (Reuters – English); a Honduran textile industry’s efforts in renewables (PV Magazine – Spanish); and Aruba’s storage (Argus Media – English).



Government & NGO


Nicaragua’s exports keep falling but are still better than last year. Up until the first quarter, Nicaraguan exports increased 10.8%, but they’ve been falling since April. In the first half of the year, US$1.5bn was earned from exports, an increase of US$154.17m compared to the same period in 2019 (La Prensa – Spanish).


Fitch downgraded Suriname’s long-term foreign currency to C. The international rating agency downgraded Suriname’s long-term foreign currency IDR to C as the Caribbean nation’s government began a distressed debt exchange (DDE) in relation to its 2023 bonds (Fitch Ratings – English).


COVID-19 threatens Colombia’s coast. Coronavirus cases and deaths are increasing in the Caribbean coast, and doctors warned many deaths are going undetected (Reuters – English). The region accounts for close to 40% of the country’s cases.


The Dominican Republic’s ruling party conceded defeat. Gonzalo Castillo conceded defeat to Luis Abinader in an election that was overshadowed by the nation’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic (Reuters – English). Abinader’s victory marks the end of 16 years of rule by the Dominican Liberation Party.


After the COVID-19 crisis, Havana struggles without tourists. The Cuban capital ended its COVID-19 lockdown, but without tourists, residents face shortages of food and basic goods (Reuters – English). Although restrictions have been lifted, businesses face a problem due to the lack of supplies.


The BCIE has big energy plans for the region. The Central American Bank of Economic Integration (BCIE) plans to launch several energy projects this year with an estimated investment of US$2.2bn (BN Americas – Spanish). The BCIE represents 50% of the funding of all the infrastructure projects in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.



Oil & Gas Upstream


United Oil will decide on its plans for Jamaica by September. United Oil and Gas Limited (UOG) will decide by September whether to drill for oil offshore Jamaica (Jamaica Gleaner – English). UOG still requires a joint venture partner to drill.


Venezuela’s oil production started July on the wrong foot. Venezuela’s oil production reached the lowest level in nine decades, with the exception of the oil strike in December 2002-January 2003. While the Caribbean country produced 780,000 barrels per day in July 2019, this year production fell to 300,000 barrels per day, and no oil rigs are in operation (Argus media – English).


Colombia’s oil sector was hit by COVID-19. During the COVID-19 lockdown, oil companies closed fields and wells, and several companies face financial difficulties (Panam Post – English) (Oil Price – English). Crude oil production fell to 720,000 barrels per day compared to 890,000 barrels in 2019.


Colombian pilot fracking programs will be up and running in two months. The Mines and Energy Minister expects that once the rules are published, private companies will go to the National Agency of Hydrocarbons and request an area to develop a pilot project, a process estimated to take two months (Vanguardia – Spanish).


Canacol Energy will bet big in Colombia. The Canadian company confirmed that US$108m will be invested in Colombia (Petroguía – Spanish). The goal is to continue with its drilling plans for nine wells, confirming the exploratory potential in more than 160 new projects.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The private sector wants answers from Petrojam. The private sector organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) awaits a review of the reports on the Petrojam investigations by the parliamentary oversight committees (Jamaica Observer – English). Further investigations will be done by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Financial Investigations Division, and the commissioner of police.


A fuel tanker exploded in Colombia, killing seven. Seven people died and 50 were hurt as a fuel tanker exploded in the Puebloviejo municipality (El Pais – Spanish). The tanker overturned and people were trying to steal the fuel when a spark made the tanker explode.


Honduras and Guatemala will pay more for fuel. Honduras’ Energy Ministry stated that fuel prices increased again after July 6, reaching 80.89 Lempiras per gallon (Cholusat Sur – Spanish). Guatemala is also experiencing an increase in oil prices of Q1.20 per gallon of gasoline (Prensa Libre – Spanish).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Taiwan will fund a natural gas-powered plant in Haiti. Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe said Taiwan loaned US$150m to Haiti to finance electrical infrastructure, including a natural gas-fired power plant (Haitian Times – English). The loan has not been ratified by the parliament.


Natural gas demand keeps dropping in Colombia. During the last week of June, Colombia’s users demanded 851 GBtu per day, a lower amount than the 911 GBtu per day registered the previous week (Valora Analitik – Spanish). Thermal plants and refineries led the cut in demand by 20% and 6%, respectively.


New Fortress Energy got out of an LNG deal. New Fortress Energy LLC terminated its contract with Centrica LNG Company Limited in exchange for a payment of US$105m, and will now be able to purchase LNG on the open market (LNG industry – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


Panamá goes all in on renewables. The government plans a series of measures to boost the energy transition toward renewables and support economic reactivation (PV Magazine – Spanish). The goal is to reach a new model promoting environmental protection.


Colombia’s Mercacentro shines with a solar roof. The Colombian company Celsia installed the first solar roof in the Mercacentro supermarket (PV Magazine – Spanish). The solar roof will generate 140,000 kWh of power per year, providing 20% of its average power demand.


Barbados plans a waste-to-energy facility at Vaucluse. The Mottley administration plans a US$320m waste-to-energy facility on Vaucluse, St Thomas (Barbados Today – English). The government changed the regulatory agenda and is boosting renewable energy to reach the 100% renewable goal by 2030.


The Dominican Republic okayed 162MWp in solar. The Energy National Commission (CNE) authorized the Cotoperí I, II, and III projects of 54MWp each (PV Magazine – Spanish). F&S Solar Assets plans other 25MWp projects in the short term in the Caribbean nation.


Solar will bring power to 1,380 Colombian families. Colombia approved four new solar power energy projects for COL$28bn to benefit more than 1,380 families that did not have power before in the Caquetá, Cauca, and Sucre regions (PV Magazine – Spanish). During the COVID-19 crisis, 22 projects have been approved to reactivate the economy.



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 Virtual Panel: Caribbean Energy Security will be held July 22.


The SPE Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference was rescheduled to July 28-30 at the Ágora Convention Center in Bogotá.



Lateral Thinking


The IADB will help Honduras fight COVID-19. The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) offered a US$76.2m loan to Honduras to ensure the sustainability of its public finances, increase social spending on the COVID-19 crisis, and protect its monetary and financial stability (IADB – English).



Quote of the Week


“A person can run for years but sooner or later he has to take a stand in the place which, for better or worse, he calls home, and do what he can to change things there.”



-Paul Marshall (1929-2019), American writer, with Barbadian ancestry.



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