The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


March 2, 2020 edition– Nevis’ geothermal; the Dominican Republic’s refinery; and Panamá’s grid.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala got results from the Centinela Plan; Naturgy bets on Panamá’s grid; and Nicaragua’s natural gas deal was not that sweet.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The Dominican Republic’s refinery is at work; Puerto Rico will go for thermal ocean energy; and La Habana received manufactured gas again.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago okayed BP and Shell’s solar project; and Nevis chose Albioma for its geothermal project.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Ecopetrol plans to drill 90 wells; PDVSA prepares for fuel rationing; and Guyana’s third crude cargo sailed to Panamá.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Dominican Republic’s gas call (BNAmericas – English); PDVSA’s crude offer (Platts – English); and Guyana’s oil production (Oil Price – English).



Government & NGO


The IMF visited Colombia and St. Lucia… The International Monetary Fund (IMF) congratulated Colombia on its effort to integrate Venezuelan migrants, boosting economic activity and growth in 2019 (IMF – English). The IMF expects public infrastructure projects to help growth in St. Lucia in 2020-2022 (IMF – English).


…and went by Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The IMF forecasts Costa Rica’s economic growth will reach 2.5% in 2020 (IMF – English), while Nicaragua’s economy contracted in 2019 by 5.7% and inflation increased to 6.1% by the end of last year (IMF – English).


The CCCE will bring the Caribbean to Europe. The Caribbean Chamber of Commerce in Europe (CCCE) will be launched soon to offer Caribbean companies a way into the old continent when Britain is working on exiting it (Jamaica Observer – English). The goal is to promote trade between the regions and attract European investment.


Puerto Rico’s fiscal board will submit the PSA. Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight & Management Board will submit to the court a plan support agreement (PSA) that proposes a global settlement on certain central government debt (Caribbean Business – English). The PSA will settle issues related to general obligation.


European lawmakers and El Salvador’s president met. President Nayib Bukele and delegates from the European Union had an open meeting to discuss the security strategy, women being imprisoned for miscarriage, access to clean water, and respect of institutional procedures, freedom of press, and poverty (El Mundo – Spanish).



Oil & Gas Upstream


The Llanos Orientales oil fields will shine. Parex Resources has included a Crown Jewel Rig Mounted Lighting package in the remote eastern plains of Llanos Orientales of Colombia. The goal was to reduce carbon footprints and spills (Oil and Gas 360 – English).


Ecopetrol plans to drill 90 wells. Ecopetrol’s joint venture with Occidental will allow the company to participate in the exploitation and production of unconventional reservoirs (Fool – English). The plans will add 90 wells drilled in the joint venture in 2020.


A Bahamas investor boosted BPC’s project. A Bahamas investor added US$36m to the Bahamas Petroleum Company’s (BPC) financing strategy  (Tribune 242 – English). BPC also raised $7.1m and $4.3m, respectively, through a private placement and rights offering to existing shareholders.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The US will put even more pressure on Venezuelan oil… The Trump administration will step up the sanctions campaign on the Caribbean nation’s oil sector, punishing the companies and people that violate them more aggressively (Reuters – English). The US will even go after customers of Venezuelan oil in Asia.


…and PDVSA prepares for fuel rationing. Due to the effect of US sanctions and the shortage of refined products, PDVSA is preparing to ration fuel for national consumers (Platts – English). The rationing plan would take effect in the next few weeks, as the country faces a 58% shortfall in gasoline and a 71% shortfall in diesel.


Venezuela’s energy emergency announcement slightly favored Dubai. The Middle East crude complex rose after Venezuela’s declaration of an energy emergency in response to US sanctions against Rosneft (Platts – English). The market reaction did not lift Dubai spreads out of contango.


The Dominican Republic’s refinery is at work. The Dominican Petroleum Refinery PDV sent the first shipment of low sulfur fuel oil, starting the export process of that hydrocarbon (Dominican Today – English). The program plans to export more than 100,000 barrels of fuel oil per month.


Jamaica will improve the petroleum trade standards of safety. After an explosion and fire damaged a gas station in Mandeville, the Jamaican government is working on regulations to ensure that “safety in the industry is paramount” (Pride News – English). Seven people were injured in the explosion.


Guyana’s third crude cargo sailed to Panamá. Guyana’s third crude cargo sailed on tanker Cap Philippe to Panamá and arrived on February 25 (Reuters – English). The 1 million-barrel cargo was sold by the Guyanese government to Shell.


Guatemala got results from the Centinela Plan. The Energy and Mines Ministry inspected 17 gas stations and seven propane gas distribution plants in the Centinela Plan (DCA – Spanish). As a result, six gasoline pumps and one gasoline station were closed down due to bad readings.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Naturgy bets on Panamá’s grid. Naturgy will invest EUR750m in the Central American country in the next ten years (Expansión – Spanish). The goal is to improve the power distribution grid that the company has in Panamá and to respond to the country’s growing power demand.


Nicaragua’s natural gas deal was not that sweet. Nicaragua’s government representatives negotiated with New Fortress Energy (NFE) for six months on the construction and operation of a plant to generate at a cost of US$110 per MWh, a price that experts consider to be too high (Confidencial – Spanish).


La Habana received manufactured gas again. Cuba’s capital restored manufactured gas service in different areas of La Habana after Energas completed maintenance work on its plant in Puerto Escondido (Gramma – Spanish). Approximately 278,000 clients use that type of service in the Habana Center, Cerro, Diez de Octubre, Plaza, La Habana Vieja, Playa, and Marianao municipalities.



Electric Power & Renewables


Trinidad & Tobago okayed BP and Shell’s solar project. The cabinet approved BP and Shell’s joint proposal for a solar project. The companies will now negotiate a power purchase agreement (PPA), which must also pass cabinet approval (Energy Now – English).


El Salvador’s Delsur will invest US$14m for better service. Delsur plans to invest US$2.6m in the construction of the Volcán substation to increase power transfer capacity (Central America Data – Spanish). Other investments will expand rural electrification, increase reliability, and improve efficiency.


Enertiva will go after El Salvador’s sun. Enertiva and MPC will build a 6.5MWp solar park in the San Isidro municipality (PV Magazine – Spanish). The construction of the plant will start in the second quarter of 2020 and its power will be added to the CAESS grid.


Nevis chose Albioma for its geothermal project. Albioma was selected to deliver a 10MW geothermal plant project on the Caribbean island and joined Schlumberger Integrated Drilling Services. The construction and operations team is ready to start the building stage (Renewables Now – English).


Drought is affecting the Dominican Republic’s hydroelectric generation. According to the Dominican Hydroelectric Generation Company (Egehid), in 2018 and 2019, power generation from dams dropped due to the effect of drought, from 2,212.9 GWh in 2017 to 1,026.9GWh in 2019 (Dominican Today – English) (Diario Libre – Spanish).


Elecnor will shine in the Dominican Republic. EGEH awarded Elecnor the contract to build the solar park Girasol, located in the Yahuate municipality. The project will include 300,000 panels, a 150MVA substation, and a 10km-long transmission line (Central America Data – Spanish).


Puerto Rico will go for thermal ocean energy. The Department of Economic Development and Commerce announced a plant to develop the US$300m Puerto Rico Ocean Technology Complex to generate thermal ocean energy (New Energy Events – English). The project will be finished by the first quarter of 2025.



Old School Social


Events in the world beyond your screen—go see and be seen!



REFFLatAm 2020 is scheduled for March 16 at 1 Hotel South Beach in Miami, Florida.


The SPE Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference will be held March 17-19 in Bogotá.



Lateral Thinking


A St. Lucia luxury resort developed a biodiesel project. Sandals Resorts plans to expand a biodiesel conversion center in St. Lucia, which converted used vegetable oil from the kitchens into biodiesel for use in marine vessels (Biofuels news – English). It manufactures 80 gallons in six days and the resort’s engines consume 25 gallons an hour.



Quote of the Week


“Lo peor de los muertos es que dejan vivos.”



“The worst thing about dead people is that they leave others alive.”



– Leonardo Padura (1955), Cuban novelist and journalist.




We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or biofuels created in kitchens to


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