The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


November 25, 2019 edition– BPTT’s gas discovery; El Salvador’s solar; and Colombia’s 27 qualified bidders.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. The former Guatemalan Energy Minister agreed to hand Odebrecht a pipeline; El Salvador will work with ISA on solar projects; and Costa Rica wants an electric train.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. AES Dominicana is working on a new solar park; Puerto Rico published an RFQ for a new generation facility; and S&P maintained Bermuda’s A+ ratings.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. BP Trinidad & Tobago discovered gas; NuStar’s storage terminal in Saint Eustatius finally sold; and Barbados bet on renewables.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia’s oil auction got 27 qualified bidders; Saipem will be working at the Payara project; and GeoPark plans to buy Colombia’s Amerisur.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in F-F and PDVSA’s alliance (English).



Political Economy


The IMF visited Barbados and St. Lucia… The IMF said Barbados is making progress on its Economic Recovery and Transformation program (English). St. Lucia’s growth is also strong and favored by large infrastructure investments and strong tourist inflows (English).


…while Nicaragua’s social unrest hit the economy. After the social protests in April 2018, Nicaragua’s GDP fell by 3.8% in 2018, affecting tourism, construction, and the retail sectors (English). The economy is expected to shrink by 5.7% in 2019.


The US ambassador will discuss investment at the AMCHAMDR. Robin Bernstein, US ambassador to the Dominican Republic, will speak at the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic to discuss opportunities and challenges for foreign investment (English). Bernstein has strengthened the relations between the US and the Dominican Republic.


Hurricane Dorian’s damage to The Bahamas was estimated to be US$3.4bn. According to a new report, the total cost of Hurricane Dorian’s damage to The Bahamas was US$3.4bn, a quarter of the country’s GDP (English).


S&P maintains Bermuda’s A+ ratings. Standard & Poor’s affirmed Bermuda’s A+ ratings with a positive outlook, and there is a one-in-three chance that it could be raised (English). With the current ratings, Bermuda is placed alongside Japan or China.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Colombia’s oil auction got 27 qualified bidders. According to the national hydrocarbons agency (ANH), 27 companies qualified to bid on the 59 oil blocks of the Caribbean nation’s auction (English). Colombia expects to sign 20 contracts and obtain US$800m in investment.


GeoPark plans to buy Colombia’s Amerisur. GeoPark will purchase all shares of Amerisur Resources PLC for £315m (English). The agreement includes 12 production, development, and exploration blocks and Amerisur’s interest in the Binacional Amerisur pipeline.


Touchstone got Coho-1 well’s test results. After drilling the Coho-1 well in August, Touchstone announced the well’s test results, with an average natural gas rate of 17.5 MMCFD (English). The positive results make Touchstone hopeful of significant natural gas volumes in the production base.


BP Trinidad & Tobago discovered gas. BPTT said gas was discovered at the Ginger exploration well offshore Trinidad (English). The well will be finished by the end of November and results will be obtained when drilling operations are completed.


Saipem will be working at the Payara project. Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited awarded a subsea contract to Saipem for the Payara development project in the Stabroek block (English). Saipem was also awarded subsea contracts for the first two phases of the Liza development.



Oil & Gas Downstream


NuStar’s storage terminal was finally sold. NuStar Energy completed the US$250m sale of the oil storage terminal on Saint Eustatius to Prostar Capital (English). The terminal has a 14 million-barrel storage capacity including crude oil, gasoline, and intermediate petroleum products.


A former Guatemalan Energy Minister agreed to hand Odebrecht a pipeline. Former Energy and Mines Minister Erick Archila agreed with the former Pemex director Emilio Lozoya to award, without a tender, the construction of the pipeline from Salinas Cruz, Oaxaca, to Escuintla, Guatemala, to Odebrecht (Spanish).


ECLAC warned that Latin America is going big on gas. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that Latin America increased its natural gas use in the region by 30% (Spanish). El Salvador’s first natural gas plant will start in 2021.


The NGC and Shell T&T signed a domestic gas sales contract. The National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago Limited (NGC) and Shell T&T finished negotiations for a domestic gas sales contract (English). The contract will ensure gas supply by Shell T&T to NGC.



Renewables & Electricity


Barbados got some backup insurance while on the road to renewables. The Barbados Light and Power Company will invest US$4m in extra power generation capacity to limit future blackouts (English). Barbados is working to have the island completely powered by renewable energy by 2030 (English).


Puerto Rico published an RFQ for a new generation facility. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority issued an RFQ looking for a partner to develop, finance, build, and operate a generation facility next to the Palo Seco power plant (English). The goal of the plant is to assist in hurricane recovery efforts.


El Salvador will work with ISA on solar projects. El Salvador will cooperate with the International Solar Alliance to develop solar generation projects (Spanish). The projects will power up water and pumping distribution projects.


IRENA forecasts a Latin American and Caribbean solar boom. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that solar capacity in Latin America and the Caribbean could increase by 400% in 30 years (English). Annual investments above US$7bn could boost solar PV capacity in the region from 7GW to more than 280GW by 2050.


AES Dominicana is working on a new solar park. AES Dominicana started work at the AES Bayasol solar park, which will require an investment of US$60m. The park will generate 100 GWh per year, and its energy will be added to the national grid (English).


Colombia’s power project pause is expensive. The Mines and Energy Minister said that the delay in the operation of energy projects cost the country US$580m in the last few years (Spanish). In four years, 150 projects have delayed their operation, 50 due to force majeure and 46 due to delays in procedures.


Costa Rica will invest in an electric train. Costa Rica received the approval of a US$550m loan from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration to develop an electric passenger train for the Great Metropolitan Area (English). The total estimate for infrastructure and equipment is US$1.3bn and will be funded via a PPP.



Old School Social


Events in the world beyond your screen—go see and be seen!


Expo Oil and Gas Colombia 2019 will be held November 23-26 at Corferias – Centro de Convenciones in Bogotá, Colombia.


S&P Global Platts 20th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference is scheduled for January 29-31 at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, in Puerto Rico. The leading energy conference in the Caribbean gathers global professionals to discuss regional trends, including power finance and investment, fuel options, IMO, microgrids, infrastructure, natural gas, and much more.



Lateral Thinking


Dominica will become the first “hurricane-proof” country. After Hurricane Maria destroyed the island in 2017, Dominica established a new goal: to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation (English). Dominica worked on uniform building codes, varied agricultural products, new geothermal energy plants, healthcare facilities, and reliable transportation infrastructure on land and at sea.



Quote of the Week


“The sea is a spirit, little one. And the spirit is a woman in a lovely blue gown. When she weeps, the gown weeps with her. When she laughs, the gown laughs with her. When she is offended, she thrashes her gown with a terrible anger.”



– Angela Barry, Bermudian writer and educator.




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