The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 28, 2020 edition–Belize’s sun; ExxonMobil’s discovery; and El Salvador’s volcanoes.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America.

Belize will take advantage of the sun; and El Salvador will mine bitcoin with volcanoes.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Someone will have to pay for Dominican fuels; LS Energía Dominicana cancels a natural gas-powered project; and the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau okayed US$1.2bn in infrastructure.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. BHP explains the 3D seismic survey process; St. Croix’s refinery is closed for business indefinitely; and CAH dissolved Aruba’s downstream units.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. ExxonMobil made yet another discovery in Guyana; Qatar Petroleum starts working in Suriname; and Colombia will boost hydrogen projects.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the US plans for the Dominican Republic (Revista 110 – Spanish); RdK’s crude resell (Argus Media – English); and the US policy on Venezuela (Platts – English).



Government & NGO


Maduro asked Biden for a deal. President Nicolás Maduro made a public plea directly to President Joe Biden to reach a deal. Maduro has been allowing dollars to circulate and private enterprise to flourish (Bloomberg – English). Venezuela needs capital and to regain access to global debt and commodity markets.


The UN called for Caribbean debt relief. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres asked for a debt relief extension for Caribbean and other middle-income countries to help expand their economies and exit the COVID-19 pandemic (Jamaica Gleaner – English). He said the countries should have their debts suspended into 2022.


The Dominican Republic is expanding Manzanillo. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a US$100 million loan to help the Caribbean nation improve competitiveness and socioeconomic growth in the northwestern region (IADB – English). The project includes a modern logistics terminal with a platform parallel to the bay coastline.


The IMF visited Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said both countries experienced major economic shocks before the pandemic and the collapse of tourism did not help. Zero real GDP growth is projected for Curaçao in 2021, and Sint Maarten’s GDP is expected to reach 4% growth in 2021 (IMF – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


BHP explains its 3D seismic survey process. Barbados’ Ministry of Energy, Small Business, and Entrepreneurship, together with the company, held the fifth consultation to hear from officials about how the process would be conducted (GisBarbados – English). BHP’s 3D Seismic Survey of 618 square miles offshore Barbados will take place in September.


Venezuela will boost crude production. Despite US sanctions, Venezuela expects US producers to rush back in to rebuild Venezuela’s oil industry. El Aissami, one of Maduro’s chief lieutenants, expects production to reach 1.5 million barrels by the end of the year (World Oil – English).


Trinidad & Tobago may end its natural gas role. Considering its commitments to energy transition, the Caribbean nation is debating the future of its gas-based economy and status as an exporter (Upstream Online – English). Trinidad & Tobago is working to maximize the value of its remaining oil and gas reserves.


ExxonMobil made yet another discovery in Guyana. The big oil company discovered high-quality hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs below the original Longtail-1 discovery intervals (Energy Now – English). The well was drilled in more than 6,100 feet of water by the Stena DrillMAX.


Qatar Petroleum starts working in Suriname. Qatar Petroleum was awarded two interests in offshore blocks in Suriname (Natural Gas World – English). A consortium, including Qatar Petroleum with a 20% stake, Staatsolie with a 30% stake, and Total Energies with the remaining interest, will explore the shallow waters in blocks 6 and 8.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Someone will have to pay for Dominican fuels. The government accumulated a US$53m debt with the Dominican Petroleum Refinery PDV (Refidomsa). The head of Refidomsa, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSMEs met to seek solutions to the debt (Dominican Today – English).


St. Croix’s refinery is closed for business indefinitely. Limetree Bay suspended plans to restart the 176,400 barrels per day refinery in St. Croix “due to severe financial constraints” (Platts – English). The refinery suspended operations in May after a series of emissions impacted air quality.


Colombia changed the rules on LPG. Colombia is working on the approval of a law to guarantee the substitution of wood for LPG in 10 years (Portafolio – Spanish). The new law could provide an alternative to the auto sector to guarantee sustainable land and marine mobility.


CAH dissolved Aruba’s downstream units. Citgo Aruba Holding (CAH) voluntarily liquidated Citgo Aruba Terminal NV, Citgo Aruba Marine Operations NV, Citgo Aruba Supply NV, and Citgo Aruba Thrift Foundation. Citgo Aruba Refining (CAR) will remain active for now (Argus Media – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


LS Energía Dominicana cancels a natural gas-powered project. SIE recommended the National Energy Commission (CNE) accept the company’s request to cancel a concession for a 92MW natural gas-powered project (BN Americas – English). LS Energía argued that a definitive gas deal was not reached due to “external motives.”


Colombia’s natural gas demand went down 0.2%. Natural gas demand decreased to 850 Gbtud, a 0.2% drop from the previous week (El Nuevo Siglo – Spanish). The refinery and industrial sectors have recovered while the thermal and vehicular natural gas sectors reduced their demand.


Colombia’s natural gas future is bright. In Colombia, natural gas reserves are guaranteed for eight years and more could be added from offshore fields in the Caribbean and the Magdalena Medio, Catatumbo, Cesar, and Piedemonte llanero areas. Colombia has more than 790 natural gas stations and a distribution network (Portafolio – Spanish).


Bermuda’s Golar Power questions decisions on LNG project. The Bermuda-headquartered company filed a public complaint against Petrobras’ decision to disqualify its proposal for the leasing of its TRBA with Cade (BN Americas – English). Golar Power claims Petrobras was delaying the local gas market opening.



Electric Power & Renewables


Puerto Rico’s Energy Bureau okayed US$1.2bn in infrastructure. The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau approved US$1.2bn to be used for power infrastructure projects included in the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s 10-year infrastructure plan (New Energy Events – English).


Belize will take advantage of the sun. The CDW Foundation has a 72kWp new project with solar panels located in the Toledo district, Belize (PV Magazine – Spanish). The new system will be in a mountain region and 13km away from the local power grid.


Colombia will boost hydrogen projects. Colombia’s congress approved the Energy Transition Law that recognizes green and blue hydrogen as a non-conventional renewable energy (PV magazine – Spanish). The projects will enjoy zero duties and will not pay VAT.


Colombia received turbines for its second wind farm. The Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy said turbines for the Caribbean nation’s first large-scale wind farm in over 17 years have started to arrive in La Guajira (Renewables Now – English).


El Salvador will mine bitcoin with volcanoes. The Central American nation plans to mine bitcoin with geothermal energy from volcanoes. President Bukele said the country has already dug for the geothermal bitcoin facility (USA Inquirer – English). In December 2020, geothermal energy was El Salvador’s second-largest source of renewable energy.



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 Island Resilience Action Challenge will be held on June 30.



Lateral Thinking


Jamaica and CCCL signed a MOU to transform tires into fuel. The Caribbean nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Caribbean Cement Company Limited (CCCL) to use end-of-life pneumatic tires in the cement production process. The goal is to use tires as an alternative source of fuel (JIS – 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 uses for tires 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]