The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


May 25, 2020 edition–AES Panamá’s wind project; Aquaterras’ FEED; and Colombia’s storage auction.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. AES Panamá acquired the Penonomé I wind project; Costa Rica ruled over distributed generation; and Nicaragua’s natural gas plant continues construction during the COVID-19 crisis.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuba’s Mayajigua solar park got bigger; Punta Catalina is under scrutiny; and the Dominican Republic and Haiti discussed COVID-19 and trade.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Aquaterras was awarded a FEED contract; the IMF will help out St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and Shell Trinidad and Tobago ensured gas distribution and contributed TT$3.6m in medical and relief supplies.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia launched a storage auction; Exxon will be in charge of Suriname’s Block 52; and PDVSA restarted a coker to export.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Apache’s third well (Offshore Mag – English); Elecnor’s project in El Salvador (Energy News – Spanish); and Dominican Republic’s cancellation of a gas project (BN Americas – English).



Government & NGO


The IMF will help out Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines… The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a disbursement of US$16m for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to control the COVID-19 pandemic (IMF – English). The IMF also okayed Jamaica’s request for assistance of about US$520m (IMF – English).


…and the CDB will provide US$67m to seven Caribbean countries. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will offer emergency loans to seven Caribbean countries to finance the response to the COVID-19 pandemic (CDB – English). The countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.


El Salvador will be open for business by June 6. President Bukele and big businesses agreed to reopen the economy by June 6 after the COVID-19 lockdown (El Mundo – Spanish). Fitch warned that the country is at risk of falling into non-payment (El Mundo – Spanish).


The Dominican Republic and Haiti discussed COVID-19 and trade. President Danilo Medina had a virtual meeting with his Haitian counterpart to address COVID-19 and trade at the border (Dominican Today – English). The border is fully closed on both sides and migratory flow between the nations is practically nil.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Aquaterras was awarded a FEED contract. DeNovo Energy awarded a FEED contract to Aquaterra Energy for a second Sea Swift platform in the Zandolie field (Energy Now – English). The field will be the second natural gas development on the west coast of Trinidad.


Exxon will be in charge of Suriname’s Block 52. Petronas completed the farmdown of 50% of its participating interest to ExxonMobil from a 100% participating interest in Block 52. Block 52 covers an area of 4,749km2, located north of the coast of Paramaribo (Energy Now – English).


Shell has high hopes for Colombia’s oil. Speaking during the XXIX La Joya Conference, the head of Royal Dutch Shell in Colombia said the Caribbean country should develop a long-term plan for natural gas to allow upstream investment (BN Americas – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The US Supreme Court won’t hear Venezuela’s Citgo appeal. The US Supreme Court denied the Caribbean country’s request to reconsider a lower court’s decision to allow a PDVSA creditor to go after Citgo (Platts – English). Any creditor looking to seize Citgo assets would require approval from the US Department of Treasury.


PDVSA restarted a coker to export. The state-owned company restarted a 70,000 b/d coker that had been offline for a year at the Cardon refinery. Once the operations stabilize, PDVSA plans to ship the coker to Cuba’s Cupet for re-export to European clients (Argus Media – English).


Colombia’s ANH ponders oil pipeline tariff intervention. The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) is considering an unprecedented intervention in oil pipeline tariffs, as private oil companies have suffered falling oil prices during the COVID-19 crisis (Reuters – English). Operators who had agreed contracts with Cenit are considering lawsuits.


Venezuelan military will protect Iranian tankers. Venezuela’s defense minister said five vessels will welcome and escort Iranian tankers through its exclusive economic zone to deliver fuel to the country (BBC – English). The vessels will prevent any attempt by the US to stop them.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Shell Trinidad and Tobago ensured gas distribution and millions. Shell Trinidad & Tobago contributed TT$3.6m in medical and relief supplies to the Caribbean nation. The company will continue supplying gas to the country and ensuring the safety of its staff and contractors (Energy Now – English).


Colombia can’t get enough LNG. Due to the drought and hydropower shortfall, Colombia’s power generators may double their liquefied natural gas imports at the Sociedad Portuaria El Cayao port to ensure supplies for electricity generation (Platts – English). Nine shipments of LNG have been offloaded so far at the SPEC facility.


Nicaragua’s natural gas plant continues construction during COVID-19 crisis. New Fortress Energy’s natural gas plant under construction in Nicaragua continues on schedule despite the impact of the COVID-19 crisis (Prensa Latina – Spanish). Although the executive president of Nicaragua’s Power Company has not been able to visit due to travel limitations, the schedule has not been changed.



Electric Power & Renewables


Energy Narrative opines on COVID-19’s impact on renewable energy in the Caribbean. In an interview with the Dialogue, Energy Narrative’s Jed Bailey noted that the dramatic decline in electricity demand had increased renewable energy’s share of supply in the near term, but could hinder future investment in new capacity.


Cuba’s Mayajigua solar park got bigger. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, work at the Mayajigua solar park continues to double its total capacity with 5MW of power (PV Magazine – Spanish). Construction is expected to finish by the end of May.


AES Panamá acquired the Penonomé I wind project. Goldwind Americas sold AES Panamá the Penonomé I wind project with a generation capacity of 55MW (Central America Data – Spanish). The goal is to strengthen and diversify AES Panamá’s portfolio through renewable energy integration.


Punta Catalina is under scrutiny. The National Committee of Fight against Climate Change requested the deputy president of the Dominican Corporation of State Power Companies (CDEEE) provide information regarding the proofs developed at the Punta Catalina plants and a copy of the agreement between CDEEE and Odebrecht (Acento – Spanish). The documentation will be reviewed by international and national experts.


Colombia launched a storage auction. The Power Mining Planning Unit published a tender for energy storage through batteries for the Atlantic department, in the northern region of the Caribbean nation (PV Magazine – Spanish). The goal is to limit the effects of outages or insufficient power in the grid in the region with a 50MW project.


Costa Rica ruled over distributed generation. Costa Rica published the “Rules of distributed generation with renewable sources under the contract model of simple net measuring” (PV Magazine – Spanish). Nowadays, there are two modes of solar panel installation to generate power energy for self-supply allowed.



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 Latam Mobility Summit will be held June 10-11 at Orquideorama, Botanical Garden, in Medellín.


The South America Energy Series is scheduled for June 20 at JW Marriott in Bogotá.


The SPE Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference was rescheduled to July 28-30 at the Ágora Convention Center in Bogotá.



Lateral Thinking


Healthy shores, healthy lobsters. According to new studies of Caribbean marine protected areas, levels of virus infection in lobsters seem to be connected to habitat and other species (Eureka Alert – English). Seagrass meadows and algae act as nurseries for the young.



Quote of the Week


“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”



– André Gide (1955), Ndyuka writer.



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