The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 22, 2020 edition–Costa Rica’s oil; Guadeloupe’s geothermal tenders; and Ecopetrol’s sabotage.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Costa Rica does have oil and gas; El Salvador is working on storage rules for renewables; and natural gas produces 14.2% of Panamá’s power.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. JPS had a bit of good news for its clients’ bills; Cayman’s government reallocated CORE capacity; and Bermuda relied more on renewables.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Guadeloupe offered three geothermal energy tenders.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Ecopetrol suffered a sabotage of 31 wells; ExxonMobil restored Guyana oil production; and PDVSA cut production in key fields and a crude upgrader.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in El Salvador’s natural gas plans (BN Americas – English); Exxon’s problems in Guyana (Stabroek News – English); and Trinidad & Tobago’s workers in Mexico (Guardian – English).



Government & NGO


Fitch does not trust Nicaragua’s plan. The international rating agency changed Nicaragua’s economic outlook from stable to negative because of the complicated conditions of the government’s financing due to the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic (La Prensa – Spanish). Fitch expects the government to use its deposits to finance 2020 and 2021 deficits.


The IADB will strengthen Colombia’s productive development. The Inter-American Development (IADB) approved a US$850m loan for Colombia to strengthen its productive development and to foster economic diversification and growth (IADB – English). The project includes the application of public policies promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, and business productivity.


Colombia’s economy contracted 20% in April. The Caribbean nation’s economy contracted 20.06% in April compared to the same period last year as the country suffered the impact of the COVID-19 crisis (Brecorder – English). Extractive industries, including oil, fell 13.75%.


Haiti is fighting the COVID-19 crisis and a general strike. Unions and social organizations threaten to launch a general strike to protest against the country’s deteriorating socioeconomic situation (Prensa Latina – Spanish). According to official sources, Haiti has passed the peak of COVID-19 infections (El Diario – Spanish).



Oil & Gas Upstream


PDVSA cut production in key fields and crude improver. The state-owned company stopped operations in Petropiar while the Orinoco belt production fell to 100,000 barrels per day due to high inventories (Reuters – Spanish). PDVSA also halted work on the Petrosinovensa and Petromonagas projects.


Ecopetrol suffered a sabotage of 31 wells. The state-owned company denounced the sabotage of 31 wells at La Cira-Infantas oil field near Barrancabermeja, which put the wells offline and produced an oil spill (MercoPress – English). Security guards and workers at the field received threats from aggressors.


ExxonMobil restored Guyana oil production. The oil giant restored production to 80,000 barrels per day after correcting a problem with compression equipment at the Liza field (Argus Media – English). ExxonMobil is flaring less natural gas and injecting more, increasing production at the deepwater Stabroek.


Costa Rica does have oil and gas. According to the Geologist School, different research and extractions confirm that the Central American nation has good quality oil, although the Environment Ministry denies it (La República – Spanish). Studies done between 1920 and 1975 found that among the 18 wells drilled, 14 showed oil and natural gas samples.


BPC argues the merger “assures” the future of the Bahamian well. The Bahamas Petroleum Company’s chief executive assured that the company’s expansion and merger with Columbus Energy Resources will not threaten its license obligations to drill an exploratory well in The Bahamas (Tribune 242 – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Barbados will boost biofuels. The Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL) Renewable Energy Officer and Advisor to the Minister of the Blue Economy announced the launch of a biofuel drive that will be operational this year (New Energy Events – English). Harvested seaweed will also be used to help innovate industries.


Venezuela’s oil is still reaching China. The Caribbean nation is still sending oil to China despite the US sanctions; there are 3.3 million barrels of Venezuela’s crude waiting at Chinese ports and another 5 million barrels en route to Qingdao port (Oil Price – English).


US sanctioned Mexican firms with Venezuelan oil ties. The US blacklisted Libre Abordo and a related company as they were considered to be helping Caracas avoid US sanctions (Reuters – English). The US Treasury also imposed sanctions on three individuals and two vessels for activities related to undermining US sanctions.


JPS had a bit of good news for its clients’ bills. Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) said customers will see a small reduction in the fuel and IPP charge on their bills in June due to lower oil prices (Jamaica Observer – English). JPS is investigating complaints by JPS customers about high electricity bills since March.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombian thermal plants need more natural gas. The thermal park of the country, which is mainly fueled with natural gas, needs more as natural gas production has fallen 30% since February (Portafolio – Spanish). If there are no new discoveries or gas production in Colombia before 2024, thermal plants would have to import gas or shut down.


All fuel prices except for natural gas keep rising in the Dominican Republic. The price of fuels in the Caribbean nation reached record highs of between RD$5 and RD$8.90. Only natural gas continues to maintain its price at RD$28.97 per cubic meter (Dominican Today – English).


Natural gas produces 14.2% of Panamá’s power. While the country relies heavily on oil-based fuels, accounting for 56.5% of the power matrix, natural gas adds 14.2% to the national power, and with coal (11.6%), they contribute 82.3% of the power, all from imported sources (Metro Libre – Spanish).



Electric Power & Renewables


Guadeloupe offered three geothermal energy tenders. The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) launched three tenders for geothermal development in Guadeloupe with a planned Caribbean Geothermal Centre of Excellence (New Energy Events – English). The bidding process is open to anyone, but the official language is French.


MBJ Airports Limited bets on solar. MBJ Airports Limited, which manages Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport, SIA, plans to reduce its power bill by 11% thanks to a US$1.2m solar energy project (Jamaica Gleaner – English). MBJ Airports said the 1.0MW solar plant would be installed in the main departure terminal.


Bermuda relied more on renewables. Since 2009, Bermuda’s residential electricity consumption has fallen 14% and commercial usage by 20% thanks to more efficient usage as well as renewable power generation by alternative power sources such as solar panels (New Energy Events – English).


The Cayman’s government reallocated CORE capacity. The Ministry of Commerce, Planning, and Infrastructure reallocated 700 kilowatts of the 1 megawatt capacity originally assigned to the government to the residential market (Cayman Compass – English). The 8MW CORE program connects residential and commercial solar panels and wind turbines to the electricity network.


El Salvador is working on storage rules for renewables. The National Energy Commission is working on storage rules for the energy sector to incorporate this technology in the near future. Renewables will soon offer 800MW in the country, 40% of the installed capacity (BN Americas – 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 SPE Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference was rescheduled to July 28-30 at the Ágora Convention Center in Bogotá.



Lateral Thinking


Grenada was shaken by an underwater volcano. Grenada suffered more than 1,000 small earthquakes last week caused by the underwater volcano Kick ’em Jenny. The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) issued an advisory reminding marine traffic and communities of the activity (Barbados Today – English).



Quote of the Week


“Alguien dice mi nombre y se revienta la boca.

Alguien toca a mi puerta y se deshace en humo.

Alguien recuerda mi rostro y su azul se vuelve hiedra.”


“Someone says my name and their mouth breaks down.

Someone knocks at my door and disappears into smoke.

Someone remembers my face and their blue becomes ivy.”



-Consuelo Tomás (1957), Panamanian poet.



We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or underwater eruptions 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]