The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


July 20, 2020 edition–Panamá’s LNG plants; PDVSA’s production; and The Bahamas’ oil hedge.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. El Salvador will add 8MW in solar; small LNG plants will power up Panamá’s communities; and Nicaragua will continue the natural gas plant project.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. PREPA’s transmission and distribution system operator got the okay; the IDB and The Bahamas launched an oil hedge for BPL; and Turks and Caicos Islands will bet more on renewables.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago is after hydrogen energy.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. PDVSA and Chevron restarted production in the Orinoco Belt; Hocol made a discovery close to Barranquilla; and Venezuela resumed operations at the Cardon refinery.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Colombia’s fracking (Vanguardia – Spanish).



Government & NGO


Nicaragua’s exports keep falling but are still better than last year. Up through 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).


The Caribbean government and the private sector will work to rebuild the tourism sector. Tourist associations recommended an alliance between the government and the private sector to rebuild the tourist sector, which has been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis (Jamaica Observer – English).


The ECLAC has bad news for El Salvador’s economy. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), El Salvador’s economy will suffer the deepest contraction in the region, a fall of 8.6% in 2020 (El Mundo – Spanish).


The Dominican Republic’s inflation reached 2.9%. The Dominican Republic’s central bank said that year-on-year inflation reached 2.9%, remaining under the goal of 4%, plus or minus 1% (Diario Libre – Spanish). According to the report, underlying inflation was 3.51%.


Guyana will have new oil authorities. After the declaration of the elections commission (Gecom), the People’s Progress Party (PPP) plans to replace a coalition led by the People’s National Congress (PNC) that supervised the oil sector in December 2019 (Argus Media – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


PDVSA and Chevron restarted production in the Orinoco Belt. The state-owned company and Chevron restarted production of extra-heavy crude in the Orinoco Belt at the Petropiar joint venture (Platts – English). The venture is operating at 38% of its capacity, producing 72,000 barrels per day.


Hocol made a discovery close to Barranquilla. The exploration and production company found natural gas in the Merecumbe 1 well located in the Ponedera municipality, 40km from Barranquilla (Dinero – Spanish). The short proofs will be developed in the first half of the year.


The Colombia basin promises big findings. While the Sinú Offshore and Guajira Offshore basins are promising regarding gas reserves, the Colombia basin could have triple the reserves of the two previously mentioned basins (Portafolio – Spanish). Oil companies are asking for available fields in the area.


Canacol increased its gas sales and made a discovery. The Canadian company said the average natural gas sales were 165 MMscfpd (Valora Analitik – Spanish). The Pandereta 8 well was drilled on June 27 and found 168 feet of true vertical depth of gas.


ExxonMobil continued with Guyana’s drilling plans. ExxonMobil resumed drilling in Guyana despite the fall in oil prices and political instability (World Oil – English). The Stena Carron and Noble Tom Madden vessels returned to full operations last month.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


US pressures to reduce Venezuela’s oil exports… The US is pressing shippers, insurers, and flag states registering vessels not to work with Venezuela (Oil Price – English). The companies classifying ships are asked to check if vessels have participated in shipments to Venezuela.


…and Venezuela keeps finding a way. According to a report, new intermediaries are willing to assume the risks and help President Maduro (El Financiero – Spanish). In the first year of sanctions, port stops in Venezuela fell 46%, but 214 ships visited Venezuela.


The IDB and The Bahamas launched an oil hedge for BPL. The Inter-American Development Bank partnered up with The Bahamas for a new oil hedging instrument to protect the government budget and improve the management of financial risks (IADB – English). The agreement will secure crude oil coverage during times of low prices.


Venezuela resumed operations at the Cardon refinery. PDVSA resumed gasoline operations at the only operating refinery in the Caribbean nation (Oil Price – English). The Cardon refinery can process 310,000 barrels per day and was hit by a fire last week.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombia’s natural gas demand fell 4.27%. According to the Colombian Market, natural gas demand fell 4.27% in the second week of July compared to the previous week (Valora Analitik – Spanish). The thermal sector caused the fall with a 28% cut in demand.


Nicaragua will continue the natural gas plant project. Despite delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, New Fortress Energy plans to continue the construction of the natural gas plant in Nicaragua (Prensa Latina – Spanish). The construction is scheduled to end in September 2021.


Small LNG plants will power up Panamá’s communities. Panamá’s public service regulator, ASEP, handed out licenses for small scale natural gas plants that will benefit communities not connected to the national grid (BN Americas – Spanish). The Santa Fe (8,85MW, US$9.9m) and Tortí (3,86MW, US$4.7m) projects belong to Island Power (IPSA).



Electric Power & Renewables


El Salvador will add 8MW in solar. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will support the expansion and installation of an 8MW solar rooftop at an industrial park in El Salvador, thanks to a US$8m loan (New Energy Events – English).


Turks and Caicos Islands will bet more on renewables. FortisTCI and Ritz-Carlton will increase renewable energy integration in the Turks and Caicos Islands. A 210.6kW rooftop solar system will be installed on the casino and restaurant rooftop of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences (New Energy Events – English).


Trinidad & Tobago is after hydrogen energy. Kenesjay Systems Limited signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with HDF Energy to establish a partnership for the development of the NewGen Carbon-Neutral & Green Hydrogen project (New Energy Events – English). Kenesjay has project development and consulting experience in the Trinidad & Tobago energy sector.


PREPA’s transmission and distribution system operator got the okay. The contract for the PREPA transmission and distribution system operator was approved but the question remains: Will the agreement benefit Puerto Rico’s power consumers? (New Energy Events – English). The agreement was okayed without public participation.


The BPL finances and performance are being questioned. The Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) said that parts of its grid are not working properly due to the utility’s delayed US$535m bond refinancing (Tribune 242 – English). The government was forced to pump “millions” into the Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) during COVID-19’s peak due to customers’ inability to pay (Tribune 242 – 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 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


Mangroves and coral reefs could stop rising seas. Mangroves and coral reefs could be a buffer between coastal communities and ocean waves or flooding (Conservation – English). Mangrove ecosystems also store nearly 900 million metric tons of climate-warming carbon emissions a year.



Quote of the Week


“Decir que el tiempo es río es decir nada, ni nace ni termina su corriente, fluye desde horizontes infinitos y seguirá, sin duda, hasta el olvido.”


“Saying that time is a river is saying nothing, it is not born, it does not end its current, it flows from infinite horizons and will continue, no question, until it is forgotten.”



– Paul Marshall (1906-2001), Venezuelan intellectual and historian.



We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or mangroves gardening tips to


Tell your friends and colleagues about the Weekly Brief! They can sign up for a free one-month trial here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]