The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 15, 2020 edition–Petrojam’s new fuel; Exxon’s troubles; and Colombia’s renewable paperwork.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Honduras’ hydropower plants are slowly recovering; El Salvador bets on natural gas for the future; and Panamá’s power generation dropped 15%.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Petrojam changed to low sulfur, heavy fuel oil; Bermuda will enjoy four new gas-diesel engines for its power; and the Dominican Republic will use garbage to power up.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago’s oil workers want to leave Mexico and go home.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Exxon faced technical problems in Guyana; Colombia has several gas production projects in sight and also speeded up its renewable projects paperwork.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Tropigas’s new market (La Estrella – Spanish); and Colombia’s LNG tender launch (BN Americas – English).



Government & NGO


Moody’s trusts Bermuda’s ratings and outlook. The international rating agency affirmed Bermuda’s A2 issuer and senior unsecured bond ratings while maintaining a stable outlook (Moody’s – English). Moody’s trusts Bermuda’s track record of fiscal consolidation will support debt stabilization after this year’s growth.


The IMF okayed US$594m to help out Guatemala. The International Monetary Fund approved the Central American nation’s request for emergency financial assistance of US$594m to help the country meet its balance of payments after the COVID-19 pandemic (IMF – English).


The Dominican Republic has a plan to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Foreign investors proposed a public-private partnership to accelerate  the Caribbean nation’s economic recovery to President Medina (Dominican Today – English). The Dominican Republic’s central bank said the economy contracted 29.8% in April (Diario Libre – Spanish).


El Salvador will work on its fiscal management to fight the COVID-19 crisis. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a budget support loan of US$250m to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of public policy and fiscal management in El Salvador after the COVID-19 health and economic crisis (IADB – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Exxon faced technical problems in Guyana. ExxonMobil’s Liza-1 project production in the Stabroek Block dropped to between 25,000 and 30,000 bpd from 80,000 barrels per day (Stabroek News – English). The fall was due to compressor problems and because the company would not increase flaring above 15 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.


Opposition parties may change the oil sector in Guyana and Suriname. Guyana’s opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which leads a recount of votes from the parliamentary elections, would increase the government’s take in the production-sharing contracts signed after ExxonMobil’s 1999 contract (Argus Media – English).


BPC will focus on The Bahamas first, Uruguay second. The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) said its Uruguay license success “will not distract” from efforts to drill in the Bahamas, as it will remain focused on its obligations in the Caribbean (Tribune 242 – English).


Colombia has several gas production projects in sight. According to the Mines and Energy Ministry’s forecasts, the Cupiagua area will be the Caribbean nation’s most prolific natural gas block (BN Americas – English). Ecopetrol and Hocol are expected to control 77.9% of natural gas production in Colombia by 2029.


Trinidad & Tobago’s oil workers want to leave Mexico and go home. Dozens of oilfield workers from the Caribbean nation have asked their government to allow them to return home. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, they were not able to return home when scheduled, which was by the beginning of April (Guardian – English).


Bahamas Oil and Columbus Energy joined forces in the Caribbean. Columbus Energy Resources PLC and Bahamas Petroleum Co PLC plan a merger to create a Caribbean-focused oil and gas “champion” (The St. Kitts & Nevis Observer – English). The group will have access to offshore exploration in The Bahamas.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Chevron got in trouble in Venezuela… A Chevron crude oil cargo was entangled in US sanctions on shipping companies for violating restrictions on doing business with Venezuela (Reuters – English). Chevron is working with US government agencies to ensure that the Seahero crude oil carrier complies with US laws.


…and oil tankers are turning away. Oil tankers that were heading toward the Caribbean nation turned around, and others left the country’s waters as the US considered sanctioning dozens of ships for transporting Venezuelan oil (Reuters – English). Chinese companies are reconsidering oil trade with Venezuela due to the US sanctions (Oil Price – English).


Petrojam changed to low sulfur, heavy fuel oil. After six months of work, Petrojam has implemented a transition to supply very low sulfur, heavy fuel oil, used in the marine sector (Jamaica Observer – English). Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, sales levels of the new grade of fuel have been good and are expected to increase as time progresses.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


El Salvador bets on natural gas for the future. El Salvador’s energy sector will incorporate natural gas in the near future. Energía del Pacífico will begin operation of the 378MW natural gas-powered plant by the end of 2021 and the national energy commission is working to offer gas for other industrial uses (BN Americas – English).


Colombia slowed its natural gas demand. In June, the Caribbean nation consumed 6.7% less natural gas than in the previous week. Final users received 932GBtu per day as the thermal sector cut 21% of its demand and the residential sector 1.2% (Valora Analitik – Spanish).


Bermuda will enjoy four new gas-diesel engines for its power. The new unit at Bermuda Electric Light’s complex in Pembroke includes four MAN Energy Solutions dual-fuel engines (Power-Eng – English). The new gas and diesel engines will retire several old units from the plant’s former total of 17 engines.


Colombia will start its LNG terminal auction over the summer. The Caribbean nation plans an auction to award a contract to build and operate an LNG terminal by the first months of 2021 in the Pacific area (Prensa – Spanish). The terms of reference will be published between July and August.



Electric Power & Renewables


Panamá’s power generation dropped 15%. During the COVID-19 lockdown, power generation in Panamá fell to 806 million kwh, 15% less than in the same period in 2019 (Central America Data – Spanish). Between January and April, the country offered 1.962 million kwh generated by renewables, a 17% increase compared to the same period in 2019.


The Dominican Republic will use garbage to power up. Streamline Integrated Energy Corp plans to build a plant generating energy from solid waste in the eastern part of the Caribbean nation. The plant will have a production capacity of 55MW and require an investment of US$129m (Dominican Today – English).


Colombia speeded up renewable projects paperwork. The government will ease the access to tax incentives for renewable energy projects (Valora Analitik – Spanish). The period to have access to those benefits will be cut to only 45 days.


Cox Energy Americas has big plans in Colombia. The Mexican subsidiary of the Spanish company will invest US$70m in five generation projects in the Caribbean nation (Diario – Spanish). The company plans to be the first solar energy company to be listed on the Latin American stock exchange.


Honduras’ hydropower plants are making a slow comeback. The hydropower state dams improved their storage levels slightly, but not enough to cover the high power demand in several regions of the country that face continuous outages (La Prensa – Spanish). The Patuca III hydroelectric plant will start generation tests in the next weeks.



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 Latam Mobility Summit will be held June 10-11 at Orquideorama, Botanical Garden, in Medellín.


The South America Energy Series is scheduled for June 20 at JW Marriott in Bogotá.


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 Bahamas fear hurricane season after the COVID-19 crisis. After Hurricane Dorian, recent thunderstorms over the Bahamas have revived memories of the destruction and death faced in the previous year while still managing the isolation imposed by the COVID-19 crisis (Reuters – English).



Quote of the Week


“To change your circumstances, you need to be proactive. Don’t wait for someone else to pick you up, do it yourself.”



– Judit Delno Tromp, Bonaire author.



We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or tips to overcome hurricane trauma to


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