The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


November 2, 2020 edition–Apache’s exploration; Eagle LNG’s plans in Barbuda; and El Salvador’s solar. 


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America.

Honduras and IADB will work on renewable energy integration; and El Salvador’s solar sparkles.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Apache Corporation will explore the Dominican Republic’s south coast; Rubis Jamaica went into the petrochemicals market; and Naturgy will supply Puerto Rico’s LNG for 12 more years.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Touchstone drilled the Cascadura Deep-1 well; Antigua and Barbuda’s hurricane-resistant clean energy plant broke ground; and Eagle LNG will power up Barbuda.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia’s oil auction has 16 companies bidding; ExxonMobil extended Noble Corporation drillship’s contract in Guyana; and PDVSA restarted gasoline production at Cardon.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in CCREEE’s partnership (Jamaica Observer – English); El Salvador’s power tariffs (El Mundo – Spanish); and LNG exports to Puerto Rico (E360 – English).



Government & NGO


The IMF is listening to small islands in the Caribbean. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has heard the calls from small island developing states, including those in the Caribbean, about the methodology used to provide financial assistance to them (Jamaica Observer – English). Barbados Prime Minister said middle-income countries need “fair and predictable” access to non-market finance.


The Dominican Republic will grow 8.4% in 2021… According to Bank of America, the Dominican Republic is expected to grow by 8.4% in 2021 (Diario Libre – Spanish). Bank of America said the nation was less vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic than originally expected.


…and the IMF forecast a 6% fall in 2020. The Dominican Republic fell 6% in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact (Dominican Today – English). The IMF expects a recovery of economic dynamism in the Caribbean nation with a 4% growth for 2021.


Haiti added new tariffs to Dominican exports. The Dominican Association of Exporters is concerned with the new charge of approximately US$800 established by Haitian authorities to verify trade (Diario Libre – Spanish). Haiti is the number 2 trade partner of the Dominican Republic.


Barbados’ central bank expects a gradual recovery. The Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) forecasts the country will “rebound gradually in 2021,” but the extent of the recovery will depend on several factors, including the effectiveness of policy measures (CBC – English). The CBB said COVID-19 continues creating substantial challenges for the economy.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Colombia’s oil auction has 16 companies bidding. Sixteen companies qualified to bid in Colombia’s auction of four onshore oil blocks this year (Market Screener – English). Bids on the blocks will be made at the end of this month.


Apache Corporation will explore the Dominican Republic’s south coast. The government signed a contract with Apache Corporation to explore and exploit hydrocarbons in the south of San Pedro de Macorís (east) (Dominican Today – English). The exploration will look for crude oil and natural gas.


Touchstone drilled the Cascadura Deep-1 well. Touchstone Exploration announced that the Cascadura Deep-1 well was spud ahead of schedule to a planned casing depth of 900 feet (Energy Now – English). The well is targeting three distinct Herrera thrust sheets.


The ECTT and Staatsolie signed a MOU to build HSE capacity. Trinidad & Tobago’s Energy Chamber signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Staatsolie to collaborate on building health, safety, and environmental (HSE) capacity in Suriname’s oil and gas sector (Energy Now – English).


ExxonMobil extended Noble Corporation drillship’s contract in Guyana. ExxonMobil extended the Noble Tom Madden drillship’s contract term by 6.5 years to August 2030 (Merco Press – English). The Noble Tom Madden was previously contracted until mid-February 2024.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


PDVSA restarted gasoline production at Cardon. The state-owned company restarted gasoline output at the fluid catalytic cracker unit of the Cardon refinery (Reuters – English). The unit was producing between 15,000 and 20,000 barrels per day of gasoline, and it is the only refinery currently producing gasoline in Venezuela.


PDVSA sued the US for green fuel tax credits. A unit of the state-owned company is suing the US to seek reimbursement of several hundred million dollars as it argues it overpaid in taxes between 2005 and 2011 (Reuters – English).


Rubis Jamaica went into the petrochemicals market. Rubis Energy Jamaica is exporting petrochemicals to countries in the region, including Barbados and Guatemala (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The company believes the local chemicals and lubricant sectors are positioned for growth.


Venezuela’s oil inventories are breaking the ceiling. Venezuela’s crude inventories increased 84% in the last three weeks due to the threat of US sanctions (Bloomberg – English). The port of José has reached 11.8 million barrels, the highest since August, from just 5.6 million barrels a month ago (Oil Price – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Natural gas faces some problems in Colombia. The Colombian Association of Engineers (Aciem) analyzed the sector, concluding that the natural gas market has been at a standstill, except for a marginal growth in the residential sector (El Tiempo – Spanish). The reasons are complex commercialization rules and a rigid pipeline system.


Naturgy will supply Puerto Rico’s LNG for 12 more years. Naturgy has agreed with Puerto Rico’s power authority to extend the LNG supply contract until 2032, 12 years longer than the original due date (El Diario – Spanish). The original contract included an annual volume of 1.5Bcm.


Eagle LNG will power up Barbuda. Eagle LNG reached a long-term agreement with Barbuda Ocean Club to shift to gas-fired power (Power-Eng – English). The goal is to minimize the impact upon the island’s environment while providing dependable electricity.



Electric Power & Renewables


El Salvador’s solar sparkles. Solar generation surpassed 200MW of installed capacity in El Salvador, tripling its capacity in a year (El Mundo – Spanish). Biomass capacity reached 14.6% of the country’s 2,000 MW total, while geothermal contributed 10.2%.


Antigua will launch a renewable energy survey. The Department of Environment will undertake a nationwide household survey to assess the acceptability and affordability of renewable energy in Antigua and Barbuda (Antigua Newsroom – English). The findings will inform plans to create investment opportunities in renewables.


Honduras and IADB will work on renewable energy integration. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a US$18m loan to help Honduras refit the Francisco Morazán hydroelectric dam and boost the integration of renewable energies with the power grid (IADB – English).


Antigua and Barbuda’s hurricane-resistant clean energy plant broke ground. The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Partnership Fund announced the start of construction for the hurricane-resistant clean energy plant in Antigua and Barbuda (Oil and Gas 360 – English). The US$50m fund is a partnership between the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.


Edesur faces complaint troubles. The new head of Empresa Distribuidora de Electricidad del Sur (Edesur), Milton Morrison, said during the pandemic, nobody addressed 150,000 complaints regarding high tariffs and failures (Diario Libre – Spanish). Complaints have decreased with the installation of a monitor center.



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 Nineteenth and Twentieth Meetings of the IRENA Council is scheduled for November 3-4.


The Race to Zero Dialogues on Energy will be held on November 16.



Lateral Thinking


The IDB and USAID will help out Venezuelans at home and abroad. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced US$2m for five BetterTogether Challenge awards to benefit Venezuelans in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, and Venezuela (IADB – English).



Quote of the Week


“I learned you pay for your happiness. That’s why I don’t expect to be happy all the time.”



– Esmeralda Santiago (1948), Puerto Rican author and former actress.


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


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