The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 29, 2020 edition–PREPA’s contracts; Colombia’s oil and gas production; and PDVSA’s need for refinery work.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Costa Rica’s biggest store relies on solar for half its power; and Panamá will retain the power subsidy for three months.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. PREPA and EcoEléctrica signed a 12-year contract; Dominican Republic is working on natural gas conversion; and Cuba thanks OPEC for its help.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago is turning to renewables; St. Vincent’s geothermal project suitability is being discussed; and Bluebeard’s Castle will power up with sun.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia’s production is expected to pick up after May’s decline; five Iranian ship captains were sanctioned for delivering gasoline to Venezuela; and PDVSA will offer fuel in exchange for refinery work.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Colombia’s sabotaged wells (Mero Press – English); IDB’s efforts in Colombia (IADB – English); and Haiti’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis (El Diario – Spanish).



Government & NGO


The IDB will help out Belize’s vulnerable populations. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan of US$12m for Belize that will provide protection for the vulnerable population affected by the COVID-19 crisis (IADB – English). The program will provide cash transfers for 12 weeks to unemployed individuals.


The Dominican Republic’s economy is recovering. According to a Dominican Republic central bank economic advisor, multiple economic indicators suggest that there has been a gradual recovery since the beginning of the re-opening of the company (Dominican Today – English).


Panamá will retain the power subsidy for three months. The Central American nation will pay more than US$250m in power subsidies for three months (La Estrella – Spanish). The initial budget for the subsidy was US$60m, benefiting 835,000 clients.


Trinidad & Tobago adjusted crude and natural gas prices. The Caribbean nation reduced the crude and natural gas price assumptions in the national budget to US$45 per barrel for Brent and US$2.90/MMBtu for the US gas benchmark Henry Hub (Argus Media – English). Experts still believe the government’s projections are too optimistic.


The IMF evaluated the COVID-19 crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the region has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis, with an expected contraction of 9.3% this year (IMF – English). The IMF recommends effective public policy interventions and support for those most affected by the crisis.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Colombia’s oil and natural gas production dropped to minimum levels… According to the Mines and Energy Ministry, oil production in May was an average of 732,120 barrels per day, a 18.15% decrease compared to the same period in 2019 (Dinero – Spanish). Natural gas production fell 8.3% compared to the same period in 2019.


…but it will pick up in the near future. According to the Colombian Association of Natural Gas, the country has an 8% higher natural gas production capacity than estimated in 2019. There is an increase in production declarations in 2020, with an important peak after January 2024 (Valora Analitik – Spanish) (Argus Media – English).


Trinidad & Tobago extended its offshore round. The Energy and Energy Industries Ministry extended the deadline to submit nominations for 28 blocks to August 11 (BN Americas – English). The round is scheduled to take place in the last quarter of 2020.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Five Iranian ship captains were sanctioned for delivering gasoline to Venezuela. The US Treasury Department sanctioned five oil tanker captains after they delivered 1.5 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela (Platts – English). The sanctions block any assets the captains have in US-linked banks and bans US nationals from dealing with them.


The US is concerned with ELN’s strength and pipeline attacks. The State Department warned that terrorists are strengthening little by little and that they continue attacking infrastructure such as power towers and pipelines (Eje 21 – Spanish) (Local 21 News – English).


Cuba thanks OPEC for its help. The Cuban ambassador to Austria thanked the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for their support to the Caribbean nation, which is facing the COVID-19 pandemic and US sanctions (Cubanews – English). OPEC has cooperated with Cuba in key sectors such as agriculture and water.


PDVSA will offer fuel in exchange for refinery work. Officials from the state oil company offered private contractors work fixing Venezuela’s refineries in exchange for fuel and byproducts (Reuters – English). The plan was developed because US sanctions on PDVSA and cash flow problems at the state-owned company have crippled its activity.


Heritage Petroleum Limited restarted exports. Heritage Petroleum Company Limited said 550,000 barrels of crude were sold on June 19th, the first sale since April 30th (Guardian – English). The company decided on that date to store rather than sell its crude because of the record low prices.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombia does not need that much natural gas anymore. According to the Colombian market, natural gas demand reached 911 GBtu per day in the period June 15-21. Thermal energy plants demanded 32% less natural gas, the commercial sector cut its demand by 3%, and the industrial sector by 1% (Valora Analitik – Spanish).


PREPA and EcoEléctrica signed a 12-year contract. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) signed a 12-year contract with EcoEléctrica and Naturgy (New Energy Events – English). EcoEléctrica is a natural gas plant with a 527MW capacity and an LNG import terminal.


Jamaica, like Europe, paid more for power. According to a new report, Jamaicans are paying more for light as a share of disposable income than most developing countries. The switch to cleaner natural gas was given as the reason for not benefiting from low oil prices during the pandemic (Jamaica Gleaner – English).


Dominican Republic is working on natural gas conversion. The Gasoducto del Este finished the interconnection work with the Quisqueya I and Quisqueya II generation plants (Listin Diario – Spanish). The plants started testing to operate with natural gas, and the Gasoducto del Este has been supplying natural gas since February.



Electric Power & Renewables


Luma Energy will work Puerto Rico’s electric T&D system. The Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) okayed the deal signed between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and LUMA Energy for private management of its transmission and distribution system (New Energy Events – English) (Caribbean Business – English).


Bluebeard’s Castle will power up with sun. ProSolar Systems used Enphase Energy systems to update and restore the solar system at Bluebeard’s Castle in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands (PV Magazine – Spanish). In 2017, hurricanes Irma and María damaged the 2014 500kW installation.


Costa Rica’s biggest store relies on solar for half its power. The biggest store of Gollo, a home articles and technology chain, relies on solar for 50% of its energy (PV -Magazine – Spanish). The shop avoided the emission of 5.37 tons of CO2.


St. Vincent’s geothermal project suitability is being discussed. The government denied that North Leeward is more suitable for the geothermal project and that politics influenced the decision to locate it in North Windward (IWNSVG – English). The project was based on six feasibility studies between 1991 and 2012, and the North Windward site was the lowest cost.


Dominican Republic’s electric cars will have 76 new stations. InterEnergy Systems will increase by 48% its charging stations installed nationwide by next July. The goal is to promote sustainable electric mobility. The company expects to have 500 stations installed by the end of 2021 (Dominican Today – English).


Trinidad & Tobago is turning to renewables. A consortium of Lightsource BP, Shell Trinidad & Tobago, and BP Alternative Energy Trinidad & Tobago submitted winning proposals for two projects to generate 92.2MW at Couva and 20MW at Trincity from solar energy (Energy Now – English).



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


The Sahara is visiting the Caribbean. A cloud of hot Saharan dust, like nothing scientists have seen before, has reached the Caribbean (Miami Herald – English). When it reached Jamaica, temperatures hit 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit, and in Haiti, the panoramic view of Port-au-Prince disappeared.



Quote of the Week


“Everyone has to make peace with the place where they’re born.”



– Angela Barry, a Bermudian writer and educator.



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