The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


March 23, 2020 edition–Cuba’s renewables; Shell T&T’s Colibri; and Colombia’s natural gas prices.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Honduras closed down to fight COVID-19.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The EU will boost Cuba’s renewables; the Dominican Republic okayed renewables in remote areas; and the Punta Catalina Power Plant is still a scandal.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Shell T&T got the okay for Colibri; Barbados and Suriname strengthened their relationship; and Touchstone will keep drilling onshore Trinidad & Tobago.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Apache goes ahead in Suriname; Colombia fears an increase in natural gas prices and shortages; and Venezuela has no fuel left.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the World Bank’s accusations (The Guardian – English); New Fortress’ progress in Nicaragua (Prensa Latina – Spanish); and Colombia’s decision on fracking (Reuters – English).



Government & NGO


Barbados and Suriname strengthened their relationship. The two Caribbean nations seek to strengthen their trade ties. The Ministry of Foreign Trade, Sandra Husbands, said that the state-owned Suriname company, Grassalco, is seeking to develop relations and Barbados is interested in the granite and sand that is abundant in Suriname (CBC – English).


Honduras closed down to fight COVID-19. The country is almost at lockdown after the government decided to send public and private sector workers home, temporarily call off flights, and suspend public transport to halt the spread of the coronavirus (Reuters – English).


The IMF said no to Venezuela. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said no to Venezuela’s request for US$5bn to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic because President Maduro’s government is not recognized by the international community (Bloomberg – English) (El Economista – Spanish).


Trinidad & Tobago took steps to ease the effect of COVID-19. Trinidad & Tobago announced a reduction in the reserve requirement at the Central Bank from 17% to 14% and a reduction in the Repo rate from 5% to 3.5% to increase liquidity and reduce interest rates (CBC – English).


CARICOM and the IMF discussed the impact of COVID-19. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Finance Minister and the Director of the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) discussed the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) (Pride News – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Apache goes ahead in Suriname. After finishing operations at the Sapakara West-1 exploration well, Apache will continue with a third exploration prospect (Energy Now – English). Elsewhere, Apache is cutting down on rig counts, limiting exposure to short-cycle oil projects.


Shell T&T got the okay for Colibri. Shell Trinidad & Tobago took a Final Investment Decision (FID) for the development of Block 22 and NCMA-4 in the North Coast Marine Area (NCMA) (Energy New – English). Colibri is projected to add 43,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).


Touchstone will keep drilling onshore Trinidad & Tobago. Touchstone will drill two more wells in the Ortoire block onshore Trinidad & Tobago after the testing process at the Cascadura-1 (OGJ – English). Coho-1 will be drilled in the third quarter and Chinhook-1 in the second quarter.


Ecopetrol made big cuts to its 2020 investment plan. Ecopetrol cut US$1.2bn and now plans to invest US$3.3bn-4.3bn, considering current market conditions (OGJ – English). The production target was left unchanged at 745,000-760,000 boe/d.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


A new explosion blew up part of the Transandino pipeline. Cenit, an Ecopetrol subsidiary, announced that an explosion had destroyed a section of the Transandino pipeline in the Mallama municipality (Reuters – English). The pipeline was not in operation at the moment of the attack.


Venezuela has no fuel left… Due to US oil sanctions, the country is facing fuel shortages, and roadblocks complicate distribution (Argus Media – English). PDVSA pledged that gasoline imports will arrive soon, without providing further details.


…and the government banned queuing at gas stations. Regional authorities banned queuing at gas stations to contain the spread of the coronavirus (Energy World – English). The ban was ordered for three states, and people who receive regular medical treatment would have special permits to receive gasoline to attend their appointments.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Canacol Energy had a good last quarter in 2019. Canacol Energy increased natural gas sales by 52% and 2P reserves by 12% (La República – Spanish). The company also expanded its transportation infrastructure and plans to build a new pipeline.


Colombia fears an increase in natural gas prices and shortages. Natural gas producers and distributors agreed to act to secure natural gas supply for homes and energy generators (Valora Analitik – Spanish). The industry and the government are discussing regulatory measures to keep natural gas prices down despite devaluation.


BPTT closed its office to fight COVID-19. Trinidad & Tobago’s biggest natural gas producer, BPTT, closed its offices for a month to fight COVID-19 contagion (St. Lucia News Online – English). The Port of Spain and Galeota offices will be closed and staff will work remotely.



Electric Power & Renewables


MPC plans a US$90m fund for Caribbean renewables. MPC Capital plans to raise US$90m from US investors, which will be allocated to 15 renewable infrastructure projects in the Caribbean (New Energy Events – English). The projects amount to approximately 200MW of installed capacity and will reduce the region’s dependency on fossil fuel imports.


The EU will boost Cuba’s renewables. Cuba plans to generate 24% of its energy from clean sources by 2030, thanks to projects under the EUR18m agreement signed between Havana and Brussels (New Energy Events – English). Considering the US blockade, renewable energy will be an important part of Cuba’s energy future.


The Punta Catalina Power Plant is still a scandal. The Dominican government agreed to pay an additional US$395.5m to the Odebrecht-Tecnimont-Estrella consortium for the construction of the power plant, costing US$2.4bn (20% more than planned) (Dominican Today – English). The CDEEE suspended the inaugural of the Punta Catalina Power Plant (Dominican Today – English).


The Dominican Republic okayed renewables in remote areas. The National Energy Commission and a private organization signed an agreement to promote the use of renewable energy in social development projects in vulnerable areas of the Caribbean nation (PV Magazine – Spanish).


The Dominican Republic power sector fights COVID-19. The Dominican Association of Power Industry (ADIE) guaranteed the power generation needed by distribution companies while implementing home offices to mitigate the COVID-19 contagion (Diario Libre – Spanish). Renewable plants are controlled remotely.



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. Don’t forget to stay six feet apart!)



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 IDB and Jamaica will boost entrepreneurship. The Government and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed a US$50 million loan agreement to implement the Boosting Innovation, Growth, and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) Program over the next 10 years (JIS – English). The goal is to fill gaps within Jamaica’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.



Quote of the Week


“The point is not to pay back kindness but to pass it on.”



– Lucila Gamero de Medina (1873-1964), Honduran romantic novelist.


We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or entrepreneurship tips to


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