The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


March 8, 2020 edition–Colombia’s renewables; the Dominican Republic’s natural gas tender; and Venezuela’s oil production.


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Energía del Pacífico’s natural gas plant will be up and running in July 2022; Guatemala’s INE offered a wind auction; and El Salvador and the IMF are working on an agreement.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. NFE will deliver natural gas to CB in June; Puerto Rico launched the first renewable and storage auction; and the Dominican Republic is preparing an 800MW natural gas tender.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Sol Petroleum Barbados helped out Barbados.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia’s renewables auction rules are out; Venezuela’s oil production is recovering; but new US sanctions hit Venezuela’s oil exports.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Central America’s natural gas fever (E&N – Spanish); JPS investment in The Nest (Jamaica Gleaner – English); and the Barrancabermeja refinery’s upgrade (OGJ – English).



Government & NGO


El Salvador and the IMF are working on an agreement. El Salvador is negotiating an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for US$1.3bn to cover public finances affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (El Mundo – Spanish). The agreement will be similar to the one agreed upon with Costa Rica for US$1.7bn.


The ITC and Caribbean Export are helping out green companies. The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) announced the launch of the Caribbean Trade for Sustainable Development Hub to help micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises develop green and viable business models (Barbados Today – English).


The Dominican Republic will build a fence on Haiti’s border. The Dominican Republic will build a fence along Haiti’s border to reduce unauthorized migration and illicit trade (Reuters – English). The cost of the border fence’s construction was not disclosed and will begin in the second half of 2021.


Puerto Rico’s governor and Biden’s team will meet. Governor Pedro Pierluisi will meet with Biden administration officials to discuss economic development, disaster relief, and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Reuters – English). It is unclear whether the administration will address the territory’s referendum.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Colombia’s Ecopetrol is focusing on gas upstream. The state-owned company is focusing on gas to adjust to energy transition (Platts – English). Ecopetrol is increasing the share of gas in its upstream portfolio from 20% to 35% by the end of 2030.


Venezuela’s oil production is recovering. Venezuela’s crude production recovered to around 500,000 barrels per day from the Orinoco heavy oil belt (Argus Media – English). The volume compares to production in the second half of 2020 and is shy of the average in March 2020.


The Bahamas’ oil battle continues. Oil exploration opponents say they will “not be priced out of justice” after the Supreme Court ordered them to find US$200,000 to cover Bahamas Petroleum Company’s (BPC) “security for costs” (Tribune 242 – English). The environmental groups are raising the funds within the 30-day period.


Colombia’s oil and gas round results are expected in November. Colombia will announce the schedule for its 2021 licensing round offering 32 blocks for oil and gas exploration and production (Hellenic Shipping News – English) this month. The National Hydrocarbon Agency (ANH) expects to award at least 15 of 32 conventional oil and gas areas.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


New US sanctions hit Venezuela’s oil exports. Venezuela oil exports dropped in February after the US sanctioned key trading houses and individuals that had been propping up exports (World Oil – English). Crude shipments fell to 418,857 barrels a day in February, a 13% drop from January.


Iran and Venezuela exchanged gasoline for jet fuel. An Iranian-flagged ship unloaded 277,000 barrels of gasoline at El Palito terminal, and the tanker is loading 130,000 barrels of jet-A1 at the Cardón terminal to take to Malaysia (Argus Media – English).


The Dominican Republic’s fuel prices help out taxes. Taxes represent between 35.3% and 36.7% of gasoline prices, while they represent between 25% for regular diesel and fuel oil (Dominican Today – English). The rest is from the distributors’ margins, transporters, and fuel retailers, adding between 17% and 20% to the hydrocarbons price.


Sol Petroleum Barbados is helping defend Barbados. The Barbados Defense Force received a donation of 11,000 liters of fuel from Sol Petroleum Barbados to help out during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic (Nation News – English). The company has also contributed to supporting essential workers and charitable food bank organizations.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


The Dominican Republic is preparing an 800MW natural gas tender. The government is planning a tender to install 800MW of natural gas-powered generation based in Manzanillo, Montecristi province, on top of 10 renewable energy projects (Dominican Today – English). The announcement will be made during the signing of the Electricity Pact.


NFE will deliver natural gas to CB in June. New Fortress Energy (NFE) plans its first delivery of natural gas to the 10MW combined power plant of Caribbean Broilers in June, when it will become commercially operational (Jamaica Observer – English). The plant is under construction in Hill Run, St. Catherine.


Energía del Pacífico’s natural gas plant will be up and running by July 2022. The power plant project located in the Acajutla port will have an installed capacity of 378MW and will start operations July 1, 2022 (Central America Data – Spanish). The previous starting date was the beginning of 2022.


Port Canaveral will welcome Caribbean LNG cruises. Port Canaveral is ready for the arrival of Carnival Cruise Line’s LNG-powered Mardi Gras cruise ship (Cruise Hive – English). The Florida cruise port has a new cutting-edge tug and bunker barge able to fuel LNG cruise ships.



Electric Power & Renewables


Colombia’s renewables auction rules are out… The Mines and Energy Ministry announced the rules for Colombia’s 2021 renewable energy auction for long-term contracts (Renewables Now – English). Although the draft resolution will be published soon, what is known for now is that renewable energy projects of 5MW and more can participate.


…and more renewable projects are ahead. The Mines and Energy Ministry and the Institute of Planification of Promotion of Energy Solutions for Non-Interconnected Areas handed out two projects to provide the Unguía inhabitants in Colombia with power service (PV Magazine – Spanish). GameChange Solar will supply tilt structures for two solar projects (Renewables Now – English).


Guatemala’s INE offered a wind auction. The National Institute of Electrification launched a tender for the installation and operation of a station to evaluate the wind potential of the area where it is located (Central America Data – Spanish). The technical specifications include a 40m tower, and the station must include sensors.


Puerto Rico launched the first renewable and storage auction. The Authority of Power Energy (AEE) announced the first of six new renewable and storage auctions for the next three years (PV Magazine – Spanish). The auction includes 1GW of renewable energy capacity and 500MW of battery energy storage on the island (PV Tech – English).


Punta Catalina Unit II returned to service. The Energy and Mines Minister said that Unit II of Punta Catalina, which had been out of service since January 2, would resume operations (Dominican Today – English). The unit had a boiler defect.


Colombia’s power project pipeline progressed. According to government data, Colombia’s pipeline of power projects grew 5% in the first two months of the year, driven by solar and thermoelectric development. The pipeline has 319 active projects in its registry, with combined capacity of 16.8GW (BN Americas – 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 Online Business Congress and 1 to 1 Meetings LNG Latin America and the Caribbean is scheduled for March 10-12.


The 5th Caribbean Infrastructure Forum will be held March 24-25.


The Hydrogen Congress for Latin America & the Caribbean – H2LAC is rescheduled for April 14-15.


The Island Energy Transformation Training Series will be held April 29.



Lateral Thinking


Colombia has big renewable plans. The Mines and Energy Ministry decided that 10% of the annual energy purchase of the Wholesale Energy Market will have to come from non-conventional renewable sources through long-term contracts (PV Magazine – Spanish). Fitch warned that renewables development could be affected by the precariousness of transmission lines (PV Magazine – Spanish).



Quote of the Week


“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”



– Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014), Colombian novelist, short-story writer, and journalist.




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