The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


November 22, 2021 edition–Cuba’s solar roofs; Dominican synthetic fuel; and Suriname’s oil.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Nicaragua’s sanctions could paralyze New Fortress Energy’s plant; and Costa Rica will turn to Smart Power Grids.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuba starts selling solar roofs; the Dominican Republic will produce synthetic fuel; and gangs gave Haiti’s fuel a break.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago and Shell will exploit a natural gas field; Barbados boosts renewables; and Bermuda plans to be 100% green.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. APA got good and bad news in Suriname; ExxonMobil awarded TechnipFMC a contract in Guyana; and Colombian natural gas producers demand certainty.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in El Salvador’s FSRU (Diesel Gas Turbine – English); El Salvador’s power auction (PV-Magazine – Spanish); and Trinidad & Tobago’s hydrocarbon market (Newsday – English).



Government & NGO


Biden bans Nicaragua’s president and ministers from going into the US. President Joe Biden banned Nicaraguan officials from entering the US in response to an election that the US said was rigged in favor of President Daniel Ortega (Reuters – English) (El Economista – Spanish). Seven of the presidential candidates were detained and three parties were declared illegal.


Colombia’s economy grew 13.2% in the third quarter. The Caribbean nation’s economy expanded 13.2% in the third quarter, compared to the same period in the previous year (El Economista – Spanish). The market expects a GDP growth of 12% between July and September.


The CHTA expects a good winter for the Caribbean. The head of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) forecasts a strong recovery during the winter for regional tourism based on strong health protocols in place and the increase in flights to several Caribbean destinations (Nation News – English).


The IMF is happy with Jamaica’s progress. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the fiscal deficit improved from a low of 11% of GDP in 2009 to a surplus, and public debt fell from 142% of GDP to 94% (IMF – English). Tourism has rebounded to near 70% of pre-crisis levels.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Trinidad & Tobago and Shell will exploit a natural gas field. The Caribbean nation signed an agreement with the oil giant to exploit natural gas deposits in the Loran field, which extends to the maritime border with Venezuela (Market Research Telecast – English).


APA got good and bad news in Suriname. The parent company of oil and gas producer Apache reported mixed results from drilling off the coast of Suriname, with one new well showing as much as 375 million barrels of oil while a second was set to be abandoned (Reuters – English).


Tullow will leave Suriname. After drilling the Goliathberg Voltzberg North-1 exploration well, targeting 235 million barrels of oil and encountering only minor oil shows, Tullow Oil notified the government of Suriname that they have elected not to enter into the next phase of Block 47, and will exit this license on December 31, 2021 (OE Digital – English).


ExxonMobil awarded TechnipFMC a contract in Guyana. TechnipFMC PLC has been awarded a new contract to supply a subsea production system to an oil-drilling site offshore Guyana (Market Watch – English). The contract is worth between US$500m and US$1bn.


Venezuelan petrochemicals reached the US. Despite Washington’s efforts, two cargoes of methanol produced by joint ventures between Pequiven and foreign partners were discharged at Houston area ports (Reuters – English). The shipments represent a new and unreported effort by Venezuela to boost revenues.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The Dominican Republic will produce synthetic fuel. The National Energy Commission (CNE) and Ridge Partners Línea Noroeste signed a concession contract for the exploitation of D-2 Diesel Biofuel generation works from renewable primary sources of urban solid waste (BN Americas – English). The company will operate in the municipality of Laguna Salada, in the Valverde province.


Gangs gave Haiti’s fuel a break. One of the country’s major gangs temporarily unblocked supply terminals, easing Haiti’s fuel crisis (Argus Media – English). Trucks have been ferrying fuel since November 12 from the main Varreaux terminal in the capital Port-au-Prince.


Trinidad & Tobago’s Vessigny residents complain of an oil spill. Heritage Petroleum was contacted over an oil spill at the Vessigny River, causing some residents to leave their homes (Trinidad Express – English). A former clerk at Petrotrin felt the company’s response to the oil leak was slow.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Nicaragua’s sanctions could paralyze New Fortress Energy’s plant. The execution of New Fortress Energy’s project could be paralyzed due to the sanctions imposed on energy sector representatives (100 Noticias – Spanish). New Fortress Energy had been negotiating with said representatives.


Colombia may need gas to produce blue hydrogen. The South American country published its transition plan to hydrogen. However, with the increase in gas demand and the fall in supply, Colombia may need to import gas to produce hydrogen (Natural Gas World – English).


Colombian natural gas producers demand certainty. The Caribbean nation’s natural gas producers asked for transparency in the cost of natural gas pipelines (El Espectador – Spanish). Other obstacles to investment include the increase in tariffs and delays in regulatory changes and the publication of the transport methodology.



Electric Power & Renewables


Ecopetrol will be powered by the sun. The Colombian oil company is supporting a 26MWp solar project in the department of Huila to power its own operations and reduce regional emissions (Renewables Now – English). AES Colombia will build the solar farm.


Costa Rica will turn to Smart Power Grids. The Central American nation published a national strategy for smart grids to improve power service and boost energy efficiency (PV Magazine – Spanish).


Cuba starts selling solar roofs. The government of La Habana started the sale of solar panels with the COPEXTEL company, supplying equipment with a 1KWp capacity (PV-Magazine – Spanish). It is the first time these systems will be offered in the local currency.


Barbados boosts renewables. The Caribbean island has invested Bds$60m to install 4MW of solar panels on the roofs of government buildings (Stabroek News – English). The Minister hinted that over the next six years, the government would be investing $90 million, which would result in over 40MW of renewable energy on additional government buildings.


Bermuda plans to be 100% green. Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said Bermuda should continue to have open dialogue and encourage the integration of renewable energy technologies, reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and the impact on the environment (Royal Gazette – English). He hoped to see 100% renewable energy in Bermuda (Royal Gazette – 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 Hydrogen Training Series for Latin America & the Caribbean will be held November 23.



Lateral Thinking


Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname will partner up on energy. Trinidad & Tobago’s representatives met a team from the Surinamese delegation to discuss the status of Suriname’s developing energy sector, including new oil and gas finds, with some focus on renewable energy (Guardian – English). Both parties acknowledged the opportunities to partner, invest, and learn from each other.




Quote of the Week


“El saber fue, por mucho tiempo, nuestra mayor y más compartida pasión.”


“Knowledge was, for a long time, our biggest and most shared passion.”



Mayra Santos-Febres (1966), Puerto Rican author, poet, novelist, and literary critic.



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