The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


May 24, 2020 edition–Puerto Rico’s sun; Limetree Bay refinery’s halt; and Colombia’s oil production hit.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. NFE will be up and running soon in Mexico and Nicaragua; BMR Energy starts working in Costa Rica’s solar; and Guatemala is looking for solar technology.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The Dominican Republic has a new fuel distribution network; Puerto Rico and the Bahamas will rely on their sun; and Evergo Jamaica will go all out on EV charging stations.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. The US EPA shut down Limetree Bay refinery; Barbados boosts renewables; and St. Vincent will help out those affected by the volcano.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Guyana’s EPA modified the Liza 1 Development Project permit; Colombia’s oil production was hit by protests; and Venezuela’s farms suffer from diesel shortages.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Dominican Republic’s power plants (Dominican Today – English); JPS’ power projects (Jamaica Gleaner – English); and BW LNG’s financing (OEDigital – English).



Government & NGO


Colombia’s economy grew 1.1% in the first quarter. The Caribbean nation’s economy expanded 1.1% in the first quarter thanks to the reopening of several sectors after the COVID-19 pandemic (El Economista – Spanish). The result was better than the central bank’s forecast of a 0.3% contraction.


The IMF made its virtual visit to Panama. Panama’s economy experienced a pronounced contraction as output fell by 17.9% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The IMF recommended reinforcing social reforms to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth (IMF – English).


St. Vincent will help out those affected by the volcano. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government says farmers and other people in the volcano Red Zone will get income support to help recover from the loss of income caused by the La Soufriere eruption (Barbados Today – English).


The US is concerned about Haiti’s political crisis. The US expressed reservations about Haiti’s elections and urged all stakeholders in the Caribbean country to ensure the future socio-economic development of the country (NYCaribNews – English). The US asked political and civilian society leaders to bridge divisions to restore democracy and stability.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana’s EPA modified the Liza 1 Development Project permit. The Guyana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the permit for the Liza 1 Development Project offshore Guyana was modified to include specific regulatory requirements for flaring associated gas offshore Guyana (Caribbean Times NYC – English).


BPL is refinancing against the clock. Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) is speeding up the process to get its US$535m refinancing, although no launch date was provided as it has previously missed several launch dates (Tribune 242 – English).


Colombia’s oil production was hit by protests… Due to nationwide protests and road blockades, Colombia’s crude oil production fell below an average 700,000 barrels per day for the first time since 2009 (Platts – English). More than 45% of the Caribbean nation’s service stations have been affected by blockades.


…and so was Gran Tierra’s crude output. Due to the social unrest, Gran Tierra Energy had to cut its previous output levels by 18%, or 5,250 barrels per day (Platts – English). The blockades impede the company’s mobilization of supplies, such as food, water, fuel, and oil sales, to secure operations.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The Dominican Republic has a new fuel distribution network. Isla Dominicana de Petróleo and Sol Investments combined their business to form the biggest fuel distribution network in the Dominican Republic with 240 stations (Dominican Today – English). Both companies will venture into renewable energy generation.


Venezuela’s farms suffer from diesel shortages. Farmers do not have the fuel needed to plant staple corn and truckers lack fuels to transport food (Reuters – English). PDVSA’s refineries are operating at a fraction of their capacity, leaving the country dependent on imported fuel.


Jamaica is the ideal bunkering spot. Jamaica was identified as an ideal location for supplying bunker fuel to marine vessels, being able to accommodate post-Panamax container vessels (Jamaica Observer – English). Jamaica’s promotion was announced at the Global Bunkering Summit 2021.


The US may keep Venezuela’s sanctions. President Biden’s administration has no plans to ease sanctions against Venezuela’s oil sector and will continue to prohibit oil-for-diesel swaps used by Repsol and Eni (Argus Media – English). The goal is to force Nicolás Maduro to agree to a new election.


The US EPA shut down the Limetree Bay refinery. The Environmental Protection Agency ordered a pause in operations for at least 60 days at the Limetree Bay refinery in St. Croix after repeated operational infractions (JWN Energy – English) (Reuters – English). In the past week, the refinery spewed oil droplets on nearby communities and contaminated drinking water.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Canacol’s gas sales continue without interruptions. Despite the protests across Colombia, Canacol’s drilling operations and gas sales proceed without interruptions (Valora Analitik – Spanish). The reliance on pipeline supply has secured uninterrupted service for clients, averaging 172m cubic feet per day between May 1 and 17, 2021.


NFE will be up and running soon in Mexico and Nicaragua. New Fortress Energy expects its Mexico LNG import terminal to start up by the end of June. In Nicaragua, a 2.4 million gallon/day import terminal and 300MW gas-fired plant is expected to come online in the same time frame (Natural Gas Intel – English).


Peru is looking for LNG imports. Peru okayed emergency LNG imports for 60 days after a liquefaction plant shut down temporarily (Argus Media – English). The company provides LNG throughout the northern coast to Gases del Pacífico-Quavii, a subsidiary of Promigas. Distributors in Lima and Ica are subsidiaries of Colombia’s Grupo Energía de Bogotá.



Electric Power & Renewables


Evergo Jamaica will go all out on EV charging stations. Evergo Jamaica will invest $150m in 60 electric vehicle charging stations across Jamaica by year-end (Jamaica Gleaner – English). Evergo users will be part of an international network that would allow use of the app in the US, European, and Latin American markets (Portal Movilidad – Spanish).


The Dominican Republic is devoted to cleaner power. AES Dominicana plans to install more than 300MW renewables in the next two years (PV Magazine – Spanish). The CDEEE launched an urgent bidding to purchase needed accessories to treat gases at Punta Catalina (Diario Libre – Spanish).


Puerto Rico and the Bahamas will rely on their sun. The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) announced the approval of a 60MW solar project (New Energy Events – English). Solar FlexRack’s technology is operational for Azimuth Energy’s 1.1MW solar project on Highbourne Cay in the Bahamas (New Energy Events – English).


Guatemala is looking for solar technology. The National Institute of Electricity (INDE) launched an auction to provide, install, and set photovoltaic equipment with a capacity of 425kWp in 2.480 meters area at the INDE’s building (Central America Data – Spanish).


BMR Energy starts working in Costa Rica’s solar. BMR Energy started the construction of a 5MW solar plant in the Guanacaste province in Costa Rica (Renewables Now – English) (PV Magazine – Spanish). The company plans to complete the plants in the second half of the year.


ABO Wind signed a PPA in Colombia. The German company and Grupo Renovatio signed a PPA for 15 years. Renovatio will purchase 43GWh of clean energy from a 20MW solar park in operation since the spring of 2023 (PV Magazine – Spanish).



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!)



30th La Jolla Energy Virtual Conference will be held on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout May.



Lateral Thinking


Barbados boosts renewables. The Caribbean nation’s government launched Smart Energy Barbados to promote the goal of being 100% renewable-powered by 2030 (Smart Energy – English). Consumers are encouraged to develop energy efficient practices in their daily lives and inspire others.



Quote of the Week


“Now he understood that a man never knows for whom he suffers and hopes. He suffers and hopes and toils for people he will never know, and who, in turn, will suffer and hope and toil for others who will not be happy either, for man always seeks a happiness far beyond that which is meted out to him.”



Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980), Cuban novelist and essayist.




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