The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 7, 2020 edition–Guatemala’s oil rounds; Cuban drivers’ cards; and Barbados’ oil exploration.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. InterEnergy Group bets on Panamá’s natural gas-powered plant; Guatemala will offer up oil rounds; and Panamá will cut power tariffs thanks to renewables.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuban drivers are unhappy with fuel cards; AES Dominicana said natural gas is the future of the energy transition; and renewables will be set in Saona Island.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Barbados will look for hydrocarbons in September; Trinidad & Tobago needs deepwater exploration stimulus; and Trinidad & Tobago is getting less from oil industries.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Venezuela turns to local partners; Geopark restarts production and Frontera stopped due to protests; and Biden renewed Chevron’s license in Venezuela.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in El Salvador’s natural gas plant (Dredging Today – English); The Bahamas’ first LNG-powered ship (Hellenic Shipping News – English); and Colombia’s new natural gas rules (BN Americas – Spanish).



Government & NGO


Caricom discussed post-COVID-19 recovery in the region. The Central Bank of Barbados hosted a virtual forum to discuss a people-centered approach to the post-COVID-19 economic recovery in the Caribbean (Barbados Today – English). The CARICOM Commission is trying to find common solutions to common challenges.


Colombia reopened Venezuela’s border. The government of Colombia reopened its land and river border with Venezuela after 15 months of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Prensa Latina – English). The reopening will be gradual and will include the implementation of biosecurity measures established by health authorities.


The IADB is happy with Latin America’s trade recovery. According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the value of exports from Latin America grew 8.9% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in the previous year (IADB – English).


South America’s import demands push container shipping rate hikes. Freight rates to ship containers from Asia to South America are expected to increase in June as strong demand continues to strain the supply of containers and space on ships (Platts – English).


The Dominican Republic’s entrepreneurs trust a maintained economic recovery. Businessmen expect the Caribbean nation’s economy to continue its growth rate for the second half of 2021 (Dominican Today – English). The recovery will depend on the success of the vaccination process.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Barbados will look for hydrocarbons in September. BHP will conduct a seismic survey to search for oil and gas on the southeast coast of the island in September (Nation News – English). The survey will last a month, and a public consultation on the survey will take place on June 15.


Venezuela turns to local partners. The state-owned company PDVSA turned to local partners seeking to cover the gap left by Western companies in the oil sector (Reuters – English). The goal is to maintain output at reduced levels, and local firms will be able to finance projects themselves and get paid in crude oil.


Guatemala will offer up oil rounds. The Energy and Mines Ministry plans to launch hydrocarbon exploration and production rounds this year (BN Americas – Spanish). The exploration areas to be offered are El Chal, Xalbal, and Cotzal in Peten, Alta Verapaz, Huehuetenango, and Quiché.


Geopark restarts production, and Frontera stopped due to protests. GeoPark was able to resume operations after demonstrations affected operations across three fields in Colombia (Natural Gas World – English). Due to road blockades in the Puerto Gaitan municipality, Frontera could not transport its production or essential operational supplies, shutting production temporarily at its CPE-6 operations (Upstream Online – English).


Colombia’s oil reserves will last 6.3 years. The Caribbean nation’s proven oil reserves at the end of 2020 were equivalent to 6.3 years’ worth,  declining 11% to 1.82 billion barrels, as lower oil prices paralyzed exploration activity (Reuters – English).


Trinidad & Tobago needs deepwater exploration stimulus. According to GlobalData, in order to maintain the same level of natural gas production, Trinidad & Tobago needs to stimulate the exploration sector and invest in less explored areas, such as deepwater offshore (Offshore-Mag – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Biden renewed Chevron’s license in Venezuela. The oil giant received a new US government license, allowing the company to remain in Venezuela until December 1 (Reuters – English) (Platts – English). Chevron has had a special US operating license since the Trump administration modified the license to restrict key activities like drilling and trading (Nasdaq – English).


Venezuela’s oil exports keep falling. The Caribbean nation’s oil exports fell to 593,550 barrels per day in May due to an outage in its main producing region and a lack of diluents to produce exportable grades (Reuters – English).


A new attack on Colombia’s Caño Limón pipeline. An explosion resulted from an attack against the Colombian Caño Limón pipeline, which passes through Tibú (La Opinión – Spanish). There have been eight attacks against the pipeline in 2021, menacing water sources in the region.


Cuban drivers are unhappy with fuel cards. Private drivers in Santiago de Cuba can only purchase fuel with coupons and cards, which are intended to speed up the sale, but the coupons can only be used for one purchase (Diario de Cuba – Spanish). In December, Cimex launched the sale of cards to purchase fuel in Cuba (Diario Cubano – Spanish).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


InterEnergy Group bets on Panamá’s natural gas-powered plant. InterEnergy Group and Group Energy Gas Panamá will build, develop, and operate a natural gas-powered plant with an installed capacity of 670MW (Puntacana Bavaro – Spanish). The project will generate 3,000 jobs.


AES Dominicana said natural gas is the future of the energy transition. AES Dominicana trusts natural gas as an excellent way to transition into renewables, substituting for diesel or coal, to move into a renewable energy system (El Dinero – Spanish). The use of new fuels such as natural gas could also mean economic savings.


EPM warned of a natural gas shortage in Antioquia. EPM is concerned that close to 18,000 Colombians may be affected by a natural gas shortage in San Pedro de Urabá, Antioquia, as trucks cannot enter the municipality due to the state of the road (RCN Radio – Spanish).


LNG plants’ explosions concern engineers. Engineering experts found that a hypothetical vapor cloud explosion at LNG terminals could be up to 15 to 20 times as powerful as what the planners modeled. In Puerto Rico, the demolition of a tank farm registered as a small earthquake and involved 78 tons of vapor (Washington Post – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


Luma took over Puerto Rico’s power, coinciding with the start of the hurricane season. The private company will be in charge of Puerto Rico’s transmission and distribution operations for 15 years, just as the Atlantic hurricane season begins. Luma is ready to handle a Category 2 hurricane (AP News – English).


Panamá will cut power tariffs thanks to renewables. President Laurentino Cortizo said the country plans to boost renewable energy generation to cut power tariffs (Prensa Latina -Spanish). The government plans 76 projects to connect 3,500 homes and more than 18,000 people living in rural areas.


Renewables will be set in DR’s Saona Island. CEPM plans several projects to boost the use of 100% renewable energy in cars, buses, ships, and ferries, including a US$10m investment to rescue Saona Island. CEPM will install solar panels on the island to promote renewable generation (Listin Diario – Spanish).


The CNEE explained Guatemala’s long-term auctions. The head of the National Commission of Electric Energy explained that transmission lines were limiting power demand coverage and investment in the sector. The decision was to expand the national grid with five transmission rings (DCA – Spanish).



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 International Conference on Mechanical Materials and Renewable Energy will be held June 6-7 in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.


The World Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air is scheduled for June 23-24 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.



Lateral Thinking


Trinidad & Tobago is getting less from oil industries. Although the EITI Report 2018 covers fiscal 2018, it includes unaudited information for fiscal 2019 and 2020, showing a declining revenue trend of 54% in those years  (Caribbean Business Report – English).



Quote of the Week


“Geen volk kan tot volle wasdom komen, dat erfelijk met een minderwaardigheidsgevoel belast blijft.”


“No nation can reach full maturity if it remains burdened with a sense of hereditary inferiority.”


– Anton de Kom (1898-1945), Surinamese resistance fighter and anti-colonialist author.




We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or Trinidad & Tobago’s future oil plans 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]