The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


March 9, 2020 edition– Apache’s drilling; El Salvador’s power plants; and Colombia’s LNG plans.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. El Salvador will have a biogas plant in 2022; Wärtsilä will operate an LNG power plant in El Salvador; and Guatemala is working on its transmission lines.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Jamaica will bet big in the power sector, including natural gas; Spain has Dominican investments in sight; and Haiti’s political crisis continues after a year.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Citgo transferred control of the San Nicolas refinery to Aruba; and The Bahamas is searching for alternative energy after Dorian.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Apache has a second target in sight in Suriname; Venezuela boosted oil exports before the US sanctions kick in; and AES Gener has big plans for Colombia’s wind.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Nicaragua’s gas offer (Confidencial – Spanish); Bahamas’s oil investment (Tribune 242 – English); and Dominican low-sulfur exports (Dominican Today – English).



Government & NGO


Guyana is stuck in political deadlock. The two main parties declared victory in Guyana’s election, with President David Granger urging his supporters to wait for election officials to reveal the results of the vote (BBC – English). Former president Bharrat Jagdeo accused the election authority of committing fraud.


Spain has Dominican investments in sight. Spanish business leaders are interested in investing in the Dominican Republic after three forums held in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia. The forums presented the interesting fiscal aspects of the Caribbean nation (Dominican Today – English).


The Dominican Republic’s electoral fiasco may hit the economy. The Industrial Associations Federation (FAI) warned that the crisis caused after the suspension of the February 16 municipal elections affects the economy and all sectors (Dominican Today – English). The FAI called on political actors to reach an agreement for transparency.


Haiti’s political crisis continues after a year. A year after Haiti’s auditors said that public workers had mismanaged Petrocaribe’s US$2bn, protesters continue demanding an answer to the question: Where is Petrocaribe’s money? President Jovenel Moïse answered, asking for a new constitution to broaden the presidency’s power (Diario Libre – Spanish).


The US will also sanction TNK Trading. The Trump administration is getting ready to sanction a Rosneft affiliate in Venezuelan oil trading, TNK Trading. The Swiss company moved the bulk of Venezuelan crude exports in 2019 (Platts – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Bahamas petroleum was awarded environmental authorization to drill. The Bahamas Petroleum Co. received environmental authorization from the government to drill the exploration well Perseverance 1 offshore Bahamas (OGJ – English). Activists described the oil drilling permit as “a reckless and irresponsible response” to the country’s debt problem (Tribune 242 – English).


Apache has a second target in sight in Suriname. Apache is drilling a second exploration well on block 58 offshore Suriname (Offshore Mag – English). According to the CEO, the results from the Sapakara West-1 well are encouraging so far.


Venezuela cannot afford to deal with gas flaring on top of US sanctions. An independent energy consultant is helping PDVSA reduce gas flaring at oil sites. However, PDVSA cannot invest in gas processing plants or infrastructure to reduce gas flaring at Venezuela’s oil fields, and US sanctions prevent interest from potential investors (Oil Price – English).


Maersk Discovery will be busy before going to the Caribbean. The rig from Maersk Drilling will have no idle time before moving to the Caribbean later this year as the company has signed a contract for the Maersk Discoverer offshore Egypt (Offshore technology – English). The contract will last 21 days.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Citgo transferred the San Nicolas refinery to Aruba. Citgo agreed with Refineria di Aruba NV to transfer the operation of the refinery and terminal in San Nicolas, which belonged to Valero Energy (OGJ – English) (Reuters – Spanish). The process will end with the termination agreement of the Aruba refinery project planned by March 16.


The oil tanker disputed by PDVSA and Citgo is still a sore spot. Citgo accused the Venezuelan military of forcing the oil tanker into port at José Terminal to discharge (Reuters – English). The tanker returned to Venezuela at the order of a Caracas criminal court (Reuters – English).


Venezuela boosted oil exports before US sanctions kick in. Venezuelan oil exports increased 9% in February compared to the previous month, responding to the expiration of a wind-down period of new US sanctions on PDVSA and its trade partners (Reuters – English). Exports reached 1.046 million barrels per day (bpd).


India will say good-bye to Venezuelan oil in April. Indian refiners Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy plan to stop Venezuelan oil purchases in April, fearing US sanctions (Reuters – English). India received about a third of Venezuela’s oil shipments in January.


Venezuela arrested two PDVSA executives. Venezuela’s intelligence agents detained two executives who worked in PDVSA’s supply and trading division (Reuters – English). The arrest came just a week after President Nicolás Maduro appointed a commission to restructure PDVSA.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombia has the Pacific LNG tender almost ready. The Energy Ministry unit UPME is finishing the details of a tender for LNG import infrastructure on the Pacific coast following new regulations (BNAmericas – English). The opening of the process is expected in the “first few months” of 2020.


Wärtsilä will operate an LNG power plant in El Salvador. Wärtsilä will operate and maintain the 378MW power plant Energía del Pacífico in El Salvador (Power Technology – English). The plant will produce 30% of the country’s energy demand and will diversify the country’s energy mix.


Jamaica will bet big in the power sector, including natural gas. The Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology announced US$7.3bn of investment in the electricity sector by 2037. Approximately US$2.3bn will be used to replace old plants for renewable and natural gas-powered projects (Pride News – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


AES Gener has big plans for Colombia’s wind. AES Gener plans to invest US$1.8bn in the next four years in renewable projects in Chile and Colombia (Wind Power Monthly – English). AES Gener plans to begin construction in 2021 of the Casa Eléctrica and Apotolorru wind farms in Colombia.


Guatemala is working on its transmission lines. The Energy and Mines Ministry launched the power transmission plan 2020-2034, which includes a second interconnection line with Mexico and one with Belize (El Periódico – Spanish). Guatemala’s installed capacity is double the country’s demand, leaving ample surplus available for export.


The Bahamas is searching for alternative energy after Dorian. The Bahamas government announced the installation of microgrids on the island of Abaco as it continues to recover after Hurricane Dorian (Caribbean Business Report – English). Prime Minister Hubert Minnis emphasized the importance of implementing solar power.


El Salvador will have a biogas plant in 2022. The Comisión Ejecutiva Hidroeléctrica del Río Lempa (CEL) announced the investment of US$32m in the installation of a biogas plant that will clean 90% of the water that goes through the metropolitan area (El Mundo – Spanish). The plant will have an installed capacity of 5.2MW and will be ready by 2022 (El Mundo – Spanish).



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


The Dominican Republic’s UNPHU and the EU will map the power transmission grid. Pedro Henríquez Ureña National University (UNPHU) and the European Union (EU) delegation in the Caribbean nation launched the Asset Mapping Platform for the Electrification of Emerging Countries (AMPERE) project. The program will monitor power lines and prevent energy losses (Dominican Today – English).



Quote of the Week



“The roses long for sunshine

And rain and cooling dew,

The songbirds long for summer

And love, I long for you.”



– Una Marson (1905-1965), Jamaican feminist, activist, and writer.




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