The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


November 30, 2020 edition–Cayman’s LNG terminal; SPS and Curacao’s debate; and Colombia’s 40 blocks. 


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America.

Gonvarri Solar Steel will shine in Panamá; Guatemala repaid Teco Energy; and Nicaragua requested money from the IMF’s Rapid Credit Facility.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. An LNG terminal is proposed for Cayman’s central wetlands; Jamaica goes further in its renewable projects; and Dominican Republic’s electric pact will be a Christmas present.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. SPS and Curacao discuss an oil storage contract.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Noble Energy postponed its drilling plans in Colombia; Total contracted Maersk Drilling for two wells in Suriname; and Elliott Management bet on a small Guyana oil explorer.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Ecopetrol and Frontera’s agreement (Valora Analitik – Spanish); Colombia’s solar project inquiry (PV magazine – Spanish); and Venezuela’s oil output (Venezuela Analysis – English).



Government & NGO


Guatemala is upset with the proposed budget. After Congress’ approval of the 2021 budget that reduced the judiciary budget by half, protestors flooded the streets of the Central American country (InSight Crime – English). The budget increased funding for government departments accused of misappropriating public funds.


Dominican Republic’s public debt skyrocketed. Consolidated public debt in the Dominican Republic increased by US$8.2bn during the last year (Diario Libre – Spanish). The debt increased due to the emergency commitments the country made due to the COVID-19 crisis.


Nicaragua requested funds from the IMF’s Rapid Credit Facility. The Central American nation made requests for purchase under the Rapid Financing Instrument and Disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility as Nicaragua faces an acute crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic on top of a recession that has lasted two years (IMF – English).


Ortega is all over the media enriching his family. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega uses state spending and tax laws to limit rival outlets while spreading state propaganda (Reuters – English). Canal 8, a television network owned by his family, has received millions in state advertising even as the channel dodges taxes.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Elliott Management bet on a small Guyana oil explorer. The hedge fund Elliott Management Corp invested US$30m in Cataleya Energy, a small firm focused on oil exploration in Guyana (Reuters – English). Cataleya holds a 25% stake in the Kaieteur block, a 3.3-million-acre area adjacent to Stabroek.


Chevron hopes Biden will help out in its Venezuelan plans. The US Treasury Department extended Chevron’s permit to continue essential transactions until June 3. As the US sanctions on Venezuela have won bipartisan support, the Biden administration’s actions will be scrutinized as a change of policy or acceptance of the status quo (World Oil – English).


Colombia will offer 40 blocks in the next oil round. The president of the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) said the next oil round will include 40 blocks (Economic Times – English). The map will remain open so that companies interested in another area can do so. An exact date for the round was not provided.


Noble Energy postponed its Colombian drilling plans. Noble Energy’s one-well contract was expected to start in the third quarter of 2020, but the company announced the drilling will possibly take place in 2021 (OE Digital – English) (Oil and Gas Magazine – Spanish). Maersk Drilling agreed to modify the previous contract with Noble Energy.


Investors consider Guyana a new home. Investors in the oil and gas industry are interested in establishing regional headquarters in Guyana. Oceamar, a Mexican offshore agency, has signaled its interest in the Caribbean nation (Jamaica Observer – English).


Total contracted Maersk Drilling for two wells in Suriname. Total signed Maersk Drilling to supply two deepwater rigs, Mærsk Developer and Maersk Valiant, for an exploration and appraisal project in Suriname’s Block 58 (World Oil – English). The campaign will start in early 2021 with an estimated firm combined duration of 500 days.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Colombia will boost fuel imports. The Caribbean nation’s government is working on fuel market reforms based on a new pricing system and greater competition with imports (Argus Media – English). Gasoline and diesel prices would move within a band designed to mitigate market volatility through an existing government-run fuel subsidy fund.


SPS and Curacao discuss an oil storage contract. Curacao finished the oil storage contract with SPS Drilling E&P six weeks after it was signed (Argus Media – English). SPS Drilling E&P is denying any breach of contract with Curacao for the Bullen Bay terminal oil storage (Argus Media – English).


Venezuela arrested a PDVSA worker. The Caribbean nation’s government arrested oil workers or retired oil workers (one of whom was a retired PDVSA worker) who have exposed the corruption and mismanagement at its state oil firm, PDVSA, and its dire financial, operational, and working conditions (Oil Price – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


An LNG terminal is proposed for Cayman’s central wetlands. Breakers LNG plans to build an LNG terminal in a former quarry in Breakers, which can be considered a threat to the central wetlands and the marine coastline (Cayman News Service – English). Breakers LNG would work with Eagle LNG Partners LLC, which would bring the liquid gas.


Taxes hit Promigas’ profits. Promigas reported a drop in income in the third quarter, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased (Dinero – Spanish). Total income reached COL$1.02bn despite the effect of the COVID-19 crisis.


Natural gas is Colombia’s future. Naturgas identified US$3 billion in natural gas projects in the next four years, including US$1.6bn for transportation and storage to guarantee natural gas supply (Dinero – Spanish). The various projects include construction of a new pipeline to connect with new fields in Córdoba and Sucre.



Electric Power & Renewables


Gonvarri Solar Steel will shine in Panamá. Gonvarri Solar Steel will deliver 39.36MW of solar structures for photovoltaic parks in Panamá (Renewables Now – English). The company supplied to a 26.24MWp solar plant in Chiriquí province and a total of 13.12MWp for a plant in Cocle province.


Solar energy will help out Dominican and Colombian families. Dominican Republic’s National Energy Commission signed an agreement to promote renewables in social development projects in vulnerable areas (PV Magazine – Spanish). Colombia’s Energy Minister approved the implementation of solar systems in rural areas off the grid (PV Magazine – Spanish).


The Dominican grid is far from fixed yet. The Inter-American Development Bank representative in the Dominican Republic is concerned over the long time it takes to execute loans to the country to fix the power grid (Dominican Today – English). The loans were approved two years ago, but the circuits are still burning.


Guatemala repaid Teco Energy. After the Ciadi’s and Supreme Court’s decision, Guatemala repaid Teco Energy, and the embargo of US$15.75m set by the Supreme Court was lifted (Central America Data – Spanish). In order to pay the sovereign debt, the country had to comply with the court’s decision.


Dominican Republic’s electric pact will be a Christmas present. An agreement that reforms the power sector will be reached by the end of 2020 to start discussions in the Economic and Social Board (CES) of the Fiscal Agreement (Diario Libre – Spanish).


Jamaica goes further in its renewable projects. The Science, Energy, and Technology Minister announced the country will execute the next tranche of renewable energy projects that will get Jamaica closer to the 30% target for electricity generation (JIS – 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 Island Energy Transformation Training Series is scheduled for December 8.


The Island Resiliency Action Challenge will be held December 17.



Lateral Thinking


Aruba’s resort won a UN climate action award. Aruba’s Bucuti & Tara installed the largest privately run solar panel system, which produces about 20% of Bucuti’s electricity (Bloomberg – English). The hotel has also cut the trash destined for the landfill by 62% through an alliance with local pig farms and recyclers.



Quote of the Week


“My confessor? … Neither he, nor anyone else, God is my confessor.”



– Lucila Gamero de Medina (1873-1964), Honduran romantic novelist.


We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or climate action awards to


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