The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


July 26, 2020 edition–Guatemala’s hydropower; Barracuda’s gas; and Colombia-Panamá’s interconnection.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala will build two hydropower plants; Colombia and Panamá agreed to power interconnection; and LNG projects will boost Central America’s industry.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Puerto Rico won a settlement from ExxonMobil; Edenorte will give the grid a makeover; and FERC upholds permits for New Fortress’ gas terminal.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Shell delivers Barracuda’s first gas; Albioma won 12MWp of solar projects in overseas French territories; and St. Thomas goes off-the-grid.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Smaller operators will boost Colombia’s oil sector; GeoPark revised its production guidance; and GOGEC wants in on the Petroleum Commission.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Nicaragua’s natural gas plant (Central America Data – Spanish); Panama Canal LNG transits (Platts – English); and AES’ gas assessment (BN Americas – English).



Government & NGO


The Dominican Republic got US$2.4bn in foreign investment. The government said direct foreign investment will exceed US$3 billion this year; up to July, the country attracted US$1.2bn (Dominican Today – English). The proposals come from the United States, Spain, Holland, Germany, France, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and El Salvador.


The US sanctioned Cuba and the UK sanctioned Venezuela. The US imposed sanctions on a Cuban security minister and an interior ministry special forces unit for alleged human rights abuses (Reuters – English). Britain sanctioned one of Maduro’s envoys, Alex Saab, in connection with a corrupt deal to obtain supplies for Maduro’s food subsidy program (Reuters – English).


Mexico will send food to Cuba. Mexico will send two navy ships with food and medical supplies to Cuba, as President Andrés Manuel López Obrador blamed the US embargo for fomenting the biggest unrest in Cuba in decades (Reuters – English).


Colombia sent the tax reform to congress. Colombia’s government presented a US$3.95bn tax reform bill to congress, even as the street protests that helped stopped the reform’s original proposal have revived (Reuters – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Cassia C arrived in Trinidad & Tobago. BpTT’s Cassia C platform arrived from Altamira, Mexico, in the Gulf of Paria. It will be installed next to the Cassia A and B facilities, becoming the 16th offshore installation and first offshore compression facility (Energy Now – English).


Shell produced Barracuda’s first gas. Shell Trinidad and Tobago began production on Block 5C in the East Coast Marine Area (ECMA) in Trinidad & Tobago (OGJ – English). Project Barracuda is a backfilled project with about 25,000 boe/d (140 MMscfd) of sustained near-term gas production.


Smaller operators will boost Colombia’s oil sector. Small and medium-sized operators will help out Colombia’s oil and gas sector recovery following the COVID-19 impact (BN Americas – English). Colombia’s oil and gas rig count fell by seven to 107 units in May, and remained stable in June.


GOGEC wants in on the Petroleum Commission. The Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC) requested to be a member of the Petroleum Commission, but the Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat, said it was too early to make that decision (Demerara Waves – English). A draft Petroleum Commission law is yet to be approved by the National Assembly.


Ecopetrol is slowly recovering its operations. The state-owned company provided an update about the recovery of its operations in the upstream, midstream, downstream, and sales and marketing segments in Colombia affected by the restrictions on mobility caused by the Colombian protests (PR Newswire – English).


GeoPark revised its production guidance. The upstream company lowered its production guidance by 5% because of the extensive protests and demonstrations in Colombia (Natural Gas World – English). Protests that rocked the country from mid-May to early June blocked the transportation of crude oil, drilling equipment, and personnel from reaching its operated Llanos 32 and other assets.


Borr Drilling will work hard in Mexico. The Bermuda company was awarded an additional jack-up drilling rig work in Mexico (Royal Gazette – English). The company is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2022 for 150 days, adding revenues of US$15.7m.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


West Indies Petroleum is making changes to its direction. Danville Walker was appointed Senior Vice President at regional energy company West Indies Petroleum Company Limited (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The company is taking steps to expand their participation in the energy sector across the Caribbean region.


PDVSA imports condensate to boost operations. The state-owned company began discharging 620,000 barrels of imported condensate crude oil at the nation’s largest oil port to boost blending operations (Reuters – English).


Dominican fuel prices will remain the same. The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and MSMEs ordered that fuel prices remain unchanged as the government assumes RD$400m (Dominican Today – English). Premium gasoline will be sold at RD$256.20 per gallon and regular gasoline at RD$239.30 per gallon.


Puerto Rico won a settlement from ExxonMobil. The US District Court for Puerto Rico approved a US$25m settlement in favor of Puerto Rico as part of a lawsuit filed a decade ago against ExxonMobil Corp and Esso Standard Oil Co. that claimed the companies contaminated the island’s groundwater (NimB – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


FERC upholds permits for New Fortress’s gas terminal. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission upheld its decision requiring New Fortress Energy Inc. to apply for a permit for its LNG terminal at the Port of San Juan (Caribbean Business – English).


LNG projects will boost Central America’s industry. LNG projects could fuel industrial opportunities in southern Mexico and Central America, according to economic analysts (Natural Gas Intel – English). There is also the longstanding plan to develop a natural gas pipeline that would transit from Mexico through Central American nations.



Electric Power & Renewables


Colombia’s renewables reached 86.5% production in June. The Caribbean nation produced 86.53% of its electricity from clean and renewable energy sources in June (Renewables Now – English). The nation’s total electricity production increased by 3.57% month-on-month to an average of 200.38GWh per day in June.


Guatemala will build two hydropower plants. Two hydropower plants will be built to generate power with an installed capacity of 5MW, taking advantage of the Polochic river (Central America Data – Spanish).


Colombia and Panamá agreed to power interconnection. Colombia’s Mines and Energy Ministry and Panamá’s National Ministry of Energy signed an agreement to define the basic rules to develop and operate a power interconnection between both countries (PV Magazine – Spanish). The lines will have a transportation capacity of 400MW.


Albioma won 12MWp of solar projects in oversea French territories. In a recent government tender for capacity in non-interconnected zones (ZNIs) in Reunion Island, Mayotte, Martinique, French Guiana, and Guadeloupe, 67 projects totaling 59.8MWp were selected in the competitive round earlier this month (Renewables Now – English).


St. Thomas goes off-the-grid. A new development in St. Thomas built the island’s single largest combined heat and power (CHP) microgrid and the first in the US Virgin Islands (Caribbean Journal – English). The microgrid produces 1 million kWh of electricity.


Edenorte will give the grid a makeover. The North Electricity Distribution Company (Edenorte) announced the grid rehabilitation and lighting with recycled materials in Baitoa township (Dominican Today – English). The plan includes the construction of an electric highway that consists of 273 lights and 28 transformers.



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


Panama’s Santo Tomás Hospital will bet on meters and power supply. The hospital is planning to save on power expenses by purchasing power in the wholesale electric market as a client for 60 months. The demand in five years is expected to reach between 19,000MWh and 24,000 MWh (Central America Data – Spanish).



Quote of the Week


“Beware, my body and my soul, beware above all of crossing your arms and assuming the sterile attitude of the spectator, for life is not a spectacle, a sea of griefs is not a proscenium, and a man who wails is not a dancing bear.”



– Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), Francophone and Martinican poet, an Afro-Caribbean author and politician from the region of Martinique.




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