The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


May 31, 2020 edition–Curaçao’s fuel; Colombia’s solar; and Puerto Rico’s LNG.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America.

Belize needs more fuel; Microsoft, Mastercard, and Nespresso will bet on Central America; and Boskalis is working hard at El Salvador’s LNG plant.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Drilling in Jamaica will cost US$35m; Puma launched a solar program in service stations; and NFE wants a second opinion on Puerto Rico’s LNG terminal.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Curaçao will auction PDVSA’s oil inventories; Barbados works to strengthen its economy; and Curaçao and CORC B.V. reached an agreement.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Staatsolie will announce new exploration rounds; Guyana proposed an energy corridor with its neighbors; and Venezuela imported its first diesel cargo in 2021.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Nicaragua’s LNG project (Natural Gas Intel – English); Peru’s LNG needs from neighbors (Argus Media – English); and Canacol’s gas sales (Valora Analitik – Spanish).



Government & NGO


S&P cut Colombia’s rating. The international rating agency downgraded Colombia’s credit rating to sub-investment grade, BB+ (Global Capital – English) (El Financiero – Spanish). The decision was made after President Iván Duque withdrew the tax reform proposed before Congress.


Panama will help out MSMEs after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a US$150m loan to support Panama’s micro-, small-, and mid-sized enterprises to promote employment by accessing financing (IADB – English). There are an estimated 200,000 MSMEs in Panama, representing 96.3% of all enterprises.


Barbados works to strengthen its economy. Prime Minister Mia Mottle said the Caribbean nation is on a mission to strengthen the economy and safeguard livelihoods (Barbados Today – English). Barbados has turned the corner in terms of COVID-19 case numbers staying relatively low for several weeks but is not out of the woods yet.


The Bahamas will boost inclusive growth with the IDB. The Bahamas will boost resilient and inclusive growth to promote micro-, small-, and medium-enterprise business continuity and competitiveness and their Blue Economy environmental resiliency (IADB – English). The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a US$140m loan for the project.


Microsoft, Mastercard, and Nespresso will bet on Central America. Twelve companies and groups including Microsoft, Mastercard, and Nespresso will make investments in Central America. The decision is a win for Vice President Kamala Harris’ plan to reduce migration from the region into the US (Reuters – English).


Colombia’s government and committee reached a “pre-agreement.” The Caribbean nation’s government and the national strike committee, with major unions and student groups, reached “pre-agreements.” The government said it hopes it will lead to talks to end a month of protests and blockades (Reuters – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Drilling in Jamaica will cost US$35m. According to United Oil and Gas’ new consultant Envoi, to drill a well offshore Jamaica will cost US$35m. United Oil is looking for a partner to share the cost of drilling the area in exchange for a stake in the oil block (Jamaica Gleaner – English).


Dominican Republic’s oil reservoirs were evaluated. Specialists met with Dominican authorities to review the petroleum system and its relationship with the Dominican Republic’s geology (Dominican Today – English). They presented actions to reduce the perception of investment risk in exploratory activities to encourage them in the country.


Staatsolie will announce new exploration rounds. The National Oil Company of Suriname will provide information on the country’s next exploration bid rounds at the Suriname Energy, Oil, and Gas Summit 2021 (Oil and Gas Republic – English). There were eight blocks offered in the Shallow Offshore for the bidding round for 2020-2021.


Ecopetrol’s crude production fell 3.6%. Due to ongoing social protests, Colombia’s state-owned company said output fell to 651,000 barrels of crude and equivalents, a 3.6% decline from the amount reported for the first quarter (Platts – English). Ecopetrol also mentioned midstream and downstream impacts.


Venezuela tries to make fuel in oil upgraders. The Caribbean nation’s government is trying to repurpose two oil upgraders to make naphtha (Bloomberg – English). The plants are the Petropiar partnership with Chevron and the Petrocedeno venture with Total and Equinor.


The Caribbean may dominate high-impact exploration this year. More than 50% of emerging play wells planned this year will be offshore Suriname-Guyana (Offshore Mag – English). Westwood expects 70-90 high-impact exploration wells to be completed in 2021, with activity concentrated in the second half of the year, and around 50% of the wells offshore Mexico, Brazil, and Suriname-Guyana.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Curaçao will auction PDVSA’s oil inventories. On May 28, Curaçao will offer 864,793 barrels of crude oil, bitumen, fuel oil, and other products formerly owned by the Venezuelan state-owned company (Platts – English). PDVSA failed to pay the island’s government back rent and interest for its storage.


Fesco increased volumes during the pandemic. Fesco reported yearly revenue of J$5.85bn, down from US$5.94bn in the previous year (Jamaica Gleaner – English). Despite the pandemic, the company cut its cost of sales, resulting in a higher gross and operating profit.


Belize needs more fuel. The Belize Retail Service Station Association published a statement confirming the present shortage of fuel in Belize (Breaking Belize News – English). The association asked for urgent action and resolution regarding the lack of information from the government and Puma Energy Bahamas.


Venezuela may suffer from a new China tax. The state-owned company is struggling to load crude cargoes before China imposes a new import tax that PDVSA officials did not consider (Argus Media – English). China will add a new US$30/bl tax on diluted bitumen, the product category for Venezuela’s Merey blend.


Venezuela imported its first diesel cargo in 2021. The Caribbean nation received its first diesel cargo since November 2020 at the Amuay port of Venezuela (Oil price – English). The tanker, carrying nearly 500,000 barrels of diesel, departed from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates in the middle of last month.


Curaçao and CORC B.V. reached an agreement. The Caribbean nation’s refining company Refineria di Korsou (RdK) reached an agreement with CORC B.V. to operate the 335,000 barrels per day Isla refinery and close facilities (Reuters – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


NFE wants a second opinion on Puerto Rico’s LNG terminal. New Fortress Energy asked a federal appeals court to review the FERC’s decision to force the developer to apply for a permit certificate for an already-working LNG import terminal in Puerto Rico (Platts – English).


The Bahamas registered its first LNG-powered passenger ship. The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) welcomed its first LNG-powered passenger ship, Mardi Gras, from the Carnival Cruise Lines. The cruise will be operating out of Port Canaveral with voyages to the Caribbean (Hellenic Shipping News – English).


Colombia considers changing its gas rules. According to the CREG, Colombia has plans to update its rules regarding natural gas supply (BN Americas – Spanish). An analysis of the current norms identified problems and proposed improvements and comments through June 8.


Boskalis is working hard at El Salvador’s LNG plant. Boskalis has been working to connect an onshore natural gas-fired power plant to an offshore Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU). Later this year, the company will assist with the mooring and hook-up of the FSRU (Dredging Today – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


Colombia’s sun will power 22,500 families. The Caribbean nation approved 15 projects that will bring power to 22,591 families. The projects will receive US$124m in investment and will benefit 11 departments (PV Magazine – Spanish).


Puma launched a solar program in service stations. Governor Pedro Pierluisi cut the ribbon on a solar panel system at a Puma service station located in Guaynabo, one of 200 company facilities to be powered by solar in the next three years (Caribbean Business – English).


Guyana proposed an energy corridor with its neighbors. The Caribbean nation is in talks with Suriname, Brazil, and French Guiana to create a regional energy corridor (Newsroom – English). The corridor would see the countries teaming up to share power based on their needs and ability to supply.


Latin America and the Caribbean is concerned with energy storage. According to a new report from the Inter-American Dialogue, policymakers in the region will need to acquire a strong understanding of the technical characteristics and benefits of energy storage technologies (The Dialogue – 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 Suriname Energy, Oil, and Gas Summit will be held June 1-3.



Lateral Thinking


Bermuda beeswax may end up fueling satellites. A government minister announced a plant to test Bermuda beeswax as a clean, renewable fuel source together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Royal Gazette – English). The effort could contribute to building the island’s space economy.



Quote of the Week


“Sin importar como te trate la vida, a medida que pasa el tiempo siempre tienes la sensación de que has perdido la vida al vivirla.”


“No matter how life treats you, as times goes on, you always feel you have lost life living it.”



– Miguel Ángel Asturias (1899-1974), Nobel Prize-winning Guatemalan poet-diplomat, novelist, playwright and journalist.




We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or beeswax powering projects to


Tell your friends and colleagues about the Weekly Brief! They can sign up for a free one-month trial here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]