The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


November 16, 2020 edition–Panamá’s solar plant; Jamaica’s renewables; and Apache’s plans in Suriname.  


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Enel is building a 26MW solar plant in Panamá; Panamá’s power demand went down; and Eta took Guatemalan lives.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuba is hoping Biden will change things; New Fortress is consolidating its Caribbean business in Jamaica and Puerto Rico; and Jamaica is turning to renewables.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. BPC has big plans for Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname; and BL&P is making a greener Barbados.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Apache will be busy in Suriname; Colombia will launch a second fracking tender; and Venezuela’s tankers are trying to recover.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Boca Chica’s natural gas tank (BN Americas – English); the arrest of natural gas firm’s executives (Business Insurance – English); and CABEI’s plans (BN Americas – English).



Government & NGO


Eta caused mudslides in Guatemala and menaces Cuba. Storm Eta’s heavy rains caused a landslide that killed around 100 people (Reuters – English). Hundreds of thousands of Cubans began evacuating their homes on Saturday as tropical storm Eta neared (Reuters – English).


Costa Rica received millions for climate change. Costa Rica became the first Central American country to receive non-reimbursable funds from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) due to its results in climate matters. The GCF approved US$54.1m in non-reimbursable funds for Costa Rica (UNDP – English).


Dominican Republic’s central bank injected US$200m into the exchange market. The Central Bank of the Dominican Republic (BCRD) announced the injection of US$200m into the foreign exchange market (Dominican Today – English). The goal is to guarantee the timely availability of dollars to meet the demands of the productive sectors during the last months of the year.


Cuba reopened Havana’s airport. After being closed for seven and a half months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Havana airport will open to regular commercial flights. The decision comes at the beginning of the tourist high season, from November to March (Reuters – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


BPC has big plans for Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname. Bahamas Petroleum plans to substantially increase field activities, including an additional rig being deployed into the field to further expand workover capability/capacity (BN Americas – English). In Suriname, the target spud date for the first well is Q1 2021.


Apache will be busy in Suriname. Apache filed appraisal plans for its Maka and Sapakara oil discoveries in block 58 offshore Suriname (Offshore-Mag – English). The company expects “robust Suriname exploration and appraisal programs in 2021″ (Oil Price – English).


Ramps will work on Block 47 in Suriname. Ramps Logistics was awarded a contract with Tullow Oil for its upcoming drilling campaign in Block 47, Suriname (Energy Now – English). Ramps will support Tullow’s drilling operations for the Goliathberg-Voltzberg North well, expected to be started in Q1 2021.


Colombia will launch a second fracking auction. The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) said that a second tender round will be held to potentially grant contracts to companies interested in non-conventional oil and gas deposits (Oil and Gas 360 – English) (World Energy Trade – Spanish). Fracking could help the country, which is facing a lack of new conventional discoveries.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Venezuela may need Iran’s help again… After the US banned non-US companies from crude-for-diesel swaps at the end of October, Venezuela’s crude production continued slipping below 350,000 barrels per day (Argus Media – English). Iran may send another gasoline supply shipment after Iran’s foreign minister met with his Venezuelan counterpart.


…but Venezuela’s tankers are trying to recover. According to tracking data and PDVSA’s internal documents, 18 oil tankers are expected to load oil for export from Venezuela in the coming weeks (Economic Times – English). So far in November, nine tankers have loaded almost 6 million barrels of Venezuelan crude and fuel for exports.


Trinidad & Tobago and the opposition leader fight over the oil refinery. The government accused opposition leader Kamla Persad Bissessar of trying to sabotage negotiations with the union-owned company regarding the refinery’s sale (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The Oilfield Workers Trade Union promised its own response to Persad Bissessar’s statement.


Cuba is hoping Biden will change things. Considering the impending political shift in Washington, the Trump administration’s controversial shutdown of diesel swaps for Venezuela could be lifted, even as a path for negotiations and some travel and financial restrictions could be eased for Cuba (Argus Media – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombia’s CREG published commercial rules for the gas market. The Energy and Gas Regulation Commission (CREG) established commercial guidelines for the wholesale gas market (BN Americas – English) (CREG – Spanish). CREG also published rules to reduce risks of an electricity shortage posed by El Niño.


New Fortress is consolidating its Caribbean business. The natural gas supplier reported US$137m in revenue for its September quarter. NFE successfully secured long-term contracts with significant customers in Jamaica and Puerto Rico and plans to start operations in Mexico and Nicaragua by late 2020 and early 2021, respectively (Jamaica Gleaner – English).


Natural gas prices seem unaffected by Caribbean storms. Hurricane ETA is moving inland and is no longer a threat to natural gas infrastructure, but there is a second storm in the Caribbean that has an 80% chance of forming a tropical cyclone, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (FX Empire – English). Natural gas prices remained nearly unchanged.



Electric Power & Renewables


Jamaica is turning to renewables… The Science, Energy, and Technology Minister announced plans to procure up to 268MW of power generation from renewable sources by 2025 (The St. Kitts Nevis Observer – English) (JIS – English). This includes solar and wind technologies with 70MW from hydro, biomass, and waste technology.


…and BL&P is making a greener Barbados. Barbados Light and Power will host an educational series on the island’s move toward a cleaner future, including installing renewables, lowering fossil fuel use, and reducing carbon emissions (Loop News Barbados – English).


Colombia will launch a new renewable auction. The Mines and Energy Ministry announced that a new renewable auction for 5,000MW will be offered during the first quarter of 2021 (PV Magazine – Spanish). By August 2022, more than 2,500MW will be connected in Colombia.


Enel is building a 26MW solar plant in Panamá. The Italian company started the construction of a 26.24MW solar park in the province of Chiriqui (Renewables Now – English) (PV Magazine – Spanish). The solar plant is expected to be up and running in the first half of 2021.


Panamá’s power demand went down. In Panamá, during the first nine months of the year, power demand in the industrial sector decreased 30% compared to the same period in 2019 (Central America Data – Spanish). Home power demand increased by 7%.



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 Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference (CTEC) 2020 is scheduled for November 19.



Lateral Thinking


New Fortress Energy donated tables to students. The company donated tables to 53 grade six students at Barracks Road Primary School in St James (Jamaica Observer – English). The students could not effectively participate in classes being taught online as schools were shut due to the COVID-19 crisis.



Quote of the Week


“Power lacks moral or principles. It only has interests.”



– Horacio Castellanos Moya (1957), Salvadoran novelist, short story writer, and journalist.


We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or technology aids 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]