The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 21, 2020 edition–Honduras’ solar; Touchstone’s drilling; and Colombia’s auction.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Participant Energy will use Honduras’ sun; Panamá’s Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica asked for consulting services; and El Salvador’s bitcoin choice may hit its deal with the IMF.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The Dominican Republic’s natural gas pipeline was celebrated; Puerto Rico’s Monacillos substation fire left 700,000 customers in the dark; and EGE Haina opened the Dominican Republic’s Girasol solar farm for business.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Touchstone cut the ribbon on Royston-1 drilling; and RdK will resell Venezuelan crude.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Suriname’s future oil revenue is still being discussed; Colombia launched the third renewables auction; and Spain may have a Venezuelan oil spill in its waters.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the LNG study in Colombia (Natural Gas World – English); the Caribbean’s clean energy future (Jamaica Observer – English); and MPC’s solar farm in the Dominican Republic (Renewables Now – English).



Government & NGO


The Dominican Republic could reach 5.5% growth in 2021. The World Bank expects the Dominican Republic to grow 4.4% in 2021, and 4.8% in 2022 and 2023 (Dominican Today – English). Regional GDP growth is expected to be 5.2% in 2021.


El Salvador’s bitcoin choice may not fly with the IMF. JPMorgan warned that the adoption of bitcoin as a legal currency in the Central American country could risk the government’s negotiation with the International Monetary Fund to achieve a US$1.3bn loan (El Mundo – Spanish).


The IMF studied the economies of Guatemala, Panamá, and Barbados. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Guatemala’s economic activity to expand by 4.5% in 2021 (IMF – English) and Panamá by 12% (IMF – English). Barbados’ recovery after the pandemic will “depend on accelerating structural reforms to improve the business climate and facilitate green and digital transformation” (IMF – English).


Colombia’s protest leaders stopped weekly demonstrations. The leaders of the protests in the Caribbean nation said the organizations will suspend anti-government demonstrations, but the fight for solutions to their social and economic demands would continue (Reuters – English).


USAID will grant US$115m to El Salvador. According to the administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US will grant US$115m in cooperation aid to the Central American nation to reduce migration from the country into the US (Reuters – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Touchstone cut the ribbon on Royston-1 drilling. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, Touchstone Exploration started the Royston-1 well drilling in the second week of June 2021 (Energy Now – English). The drilling of Royston-1 will complete the first phase of the exploration program at Ortoire.


Suriname’s future oil revenue is still being discussed. The dispute between Suriname’s government and its creditors hangs on the future revenue from recent crude discoveries. The Caribbean nation said it is too soon for those funds to appear on its books, while creditors insist they should be a factor in the debt negotiations (Reuters – English).


Suriname and Guyana will boost rig demand in 2022. The demand for semi-submersible rigs and drillships is expected to rise to 140 units by the end of 2022 (Upstream Online – English). Floater demand will be driven by drilling activity in Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, Norway, West Africa, and the US Gulf of Mexico.


Can fracking save Colombia’s oil production? Although Colombia’s crude reserves are wearing thin, many of Colombia’s political representatives are having qualms whether shale technologies should be used, considering their questionable environmental impact (Oilprice – English). Colombia’s first shale exploration tender failed to impress, with ExxonMobil and ConocoPhilips being the biggest players.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The Dominican Republic froze fuel prices again. According to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Mipymes (MICM), the government froze the prices of all fuels for June 12-18 (Dominican Today – English). The Dominican government has assumed this year RD$2,800 million due to the rise in hydrocarbon prices (Dominican Today – English).


Analysts discuss Biden’s future policy for Venezuela. The Director of Geopolitical Risk Service said he expects to see the White House’s direction on Venezuela later in 2021 (Platts – English). Platts expects Venezuela to produce around 500,000 barrels per day from May to September.


Spain may have a Venezuelan oil spill in its waters. The Spanish government detained an oil tanker for spilling hydrocarbons in the Atlantic off the Canary Islands. Multiple shipping sources said the ship entered Venezuelan waters, and there is a possibility it could be carrying Venezuelan heavy crude or fuel oil (Argus Media – English).


RdK will resell Venezuelan crude. RdK was the only bidder at the auction launched on June 11, purchasing 865,000 barrels (Argus Media – English). RdK will process or blend the crude and oil products before they are marketed.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Sagicor will finance the sale and leaseback of NFE’s Clarendon power plant. Sagicor will be structuring a US$285m sale and leaseback of the Clarendon power plant owned by New Fortress Energy. NFE has invested in two liquified natural gas terminals, located in Montego Bay, St James and Old Harbour, St. Catherine (Business Wire – English).


The Dominican Republic’s natural gas pipeline was celebrated. Enadom, the owner of the natural gas pipeline, received the Golden Hard Hat 2020 award. The pipeline saves the national power system US$300m and cuts the carbon dioxide emissions of the Caribbean nation (Acento – Spanish).


The US considered two natural gas plants in the Dominican Republic. During the Obama administration, the US supported the construction of two power generation plants powered by natural gas. Joe Biden visited the country and concluded the conditions were not right to develop them (Revista 110 – Spanish).


To avoid Panamá’s traffic, Gaslog signed LNG charters. Gaslog signed new short-term charters on two of its LNG carriers with TotalEnergies and Shell. With high transit at the Panama Canal with US LNG shippings to northeast Asian markets, charterers are choosing longer routes requiring more shipping capacity (Argus Media – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


The Dominican Republic’s grid needs some investment. The Association of Electrical Materials Suppliers (Asume) recommended the reactivation of investment in projects to rehabilitate and expand the distribution network (Dominican Today – English). Maintenance and expansion of the network infrastructure was paralyzed in 2020.


Puerto Rico’s Monacillos substation fire left 700,000 customers in the dark. A fire in a power substation affected 700,000 customers (Caribbean Business – English) and LUMA had no answers for 37,000 users (Caribbean Busines – English). Organizations requested PREPA address the service problems of LUMA Energy (Caribbean Business – English).


Colombia launched the third renewables auction. The Caribbean nation’s government launched the third call for tenders for the installation of renewable energy projects (Renewables Now – English) (PV Magazine – Spanish). The auction will take place by October 31, 2021.


EGE Haina opened the Dominican Republic’s Girasol solar farm for business. The Dominican power producer Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Haina opened the 120MW Girasol solar farm in the Caribbean nation (Renewables Now – English). The investment in the plant reached US$100m.


Participant Energy will use Honduras’ sun. The US developer started construction on a 14.7MW solar power plant in Honduras (Renewables Now – English). Participant Energy is also involved in the production of clean synthetic fuels using agricultural waste-to-energy gasification technology.


Panamá’s Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica asked for consulting services. The company opened up a tender for consulting services to validate dynamic models of generation control used in short- and medium-long-term power studies (Central America Data – Spanish). The services will have to evaluate the performance of certain generation units.



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


The Island Resilience Action Challenge will be held on June 30.



Lateral Thinking


Parex powers up with geothermal energy. On top of producing oil and gas from onshore wells in Colombia’s Llanos and Magdalena basins, the company produces geothermal energy thanks to modular units, generating 100KW for powering pumps and other equipment (Rigzone – English).



Quote of the Week


“I stood before her asserting my age, but in truth not knowing where the years had gone or how they had led up to this moment.”



– David Dabydeen (1955), Guyanese-born broadcaster, novelist, poet and academic.




We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or geothermal projects to


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