The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


November 29, 2021 edition–Jamaica’s oil extension; Bermuda’s waves; and the Dominican Republic’s sun.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Nicaragua changed its energy team to help New Fortress Energy; El Salvador will power up a bitcoin city with a volcano; and Central America’s poultry sector will rely on solar.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Cuba adds a fourth power barge to avoid blackouts; United got an extension in Jamaica; and the Dominican Republic okayed 93MW of solar.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Grenada does not expect much from the oil sector; Bermuda will use waves for power; and Martinique and Guadeloupe protest COVID-19 protocols.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Promigas will go after the Jobo-Medellín pipeline; the US extended Chevron’s Venezuelan license; and Guyana will ask for tougher financial guarantees.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in New Fortress Energy’s plant in Nicaragua (100 Noticias – Spanish); Ecopetrol’s solar plant (Renewables Now – English); and Costa Rica’s smart grid (PV Magazine – Spanish).



Government & NGO


Martinique and Guadeloupe protest COVID-19 protocols. Protesters in Martinique and Guadeloupe looted shops and set fire to barricades to protest COVID-19 protocol measures (France 24 – English) (El País – Spanish). A general strike started in Martinique on November 22, a week after a similar shutdown began in Guadeloupe.


Dominican exports had a good year. The president of the Dominican Export Association (Adoexpo) reported this Monday that 2021 is a record year for exports, reaching US$9.7bn, which represents a growth of 20.74% compared to January-October 2020 and 16.64% compared to January-October 2019 (Dominican Today – English).


Moody’s ratified Jamaica’s rating. The international rating agency affirmed the government of Jamaica’s long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings at B2. The rating affirmation reflects Jamaica’s strong commitment to fiscal consolidation (Moody’s – English).


Barbados will miss fossil fuel vehicle taxes. The new revenue protection framework is designed to counter a projected loss of some Bds$300 million in fossil fuel vehicle taxes as the government pushes towards its goal of near 100% renewable energy usage by 2030 (Barbados Today – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Ecopetrol will invest in natural gas exploration. The state-owned company will invest US$1.3bn in natural gas exploration projects until 2023 in Colombia, the US, and Brazil (Swiss Info – Spanish). This year, eight wells were drilled and tests started in Mamey-3, Arrecife-1 ST, Bullerengue-3, and Liria YW12.


United got an extension in Jamaica. The Caribbean nation granted a two-year extension to United Oil & Gas for the offshore Walton Morant license, to January 21, 2024 (Offshore Mag – English). United sees strong evidence of a hydrocarbon system in Jamaica, including source, reservoir, and seal rocks.


Guyana will ask for tougher financial guarantees. Guyana’s head of the environmental agency said the Caribbean country will raise requirements on oil operators to protect the nation against spills and future removal costs of production platforms (Reuters – English).


Colombia’s oil round will be simpler. The hydrocarbons regulator ANH removed a requirement to present proof of an insurance policy as part of bid guarantees for the Ronda 2021 auction of oil and gas drilling rights (BN Americas – English).


Colombia wants to add 3bln barrels of oil equivalent in new reserves by 2040. Colombia will look to add 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) to its hydrocarbon reserves by 2040 (Reuters – English) (Offshore Technique – English). The idea is to replace the current reserves by 150%.


The US extended Chevron’s Venezuelan license. The Treasury Department on Wednesday extended licenses for U.S. oil companies, including Chevron, operating in Venezuela until June 1, 2022 (Reuters – English). The licenses authorize transactions with Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, that are needed for maintenance or wind-down of operations.


Colombia’s presidential candidate will speed up the energy transition. Colombia’s leftist presidential front-runner Gustavo Petro is vowing to stop awarding oil exploration contracts (Argus Media – English). Petro is the favorite in a broad field of candidates for the May 2022 elections.


Grenada does not expect much from the oil sector. The Caribbean government says it is “not very hopeful” that foreign investors will seek to further develop the island’s maritime space, where commercial hydrocarbon finds had been confirmed in 2018 (Loop News – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The Dominican Republic’s diesel prices went up. The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and MSMEs (MICM) ordered a price increase in optimal diesel of RD$2.70, while other fuel prices will remain unchanged (Dominican Republic – English). Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) will be marketed at RD$139.10 per gallon and natural gas at RD$28.97 per cubic meter.


Cuba adds a fourth power barge to avoid blackouts. Karpowership is installing a fourth thermal power barge in Cuba to stop chronic outages. The barges run on fuel oil produced by the Turkish company (Argus Media – English) (Granma – Spanish).


Jamaica will transform castor oil into biodiesel. The Ministry of Transport and Mining, through the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), is partnering with small farmers across the country to boost cultivation of the castor oil plant to produce biodiesel for the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JIS – English).


Bermuda’s oil tanker company expects a recovery. The oil tanker company Nordic American Tankers Ltd has reported a third-quarter net loss of $44.7 million. CEO Herbjorn Hansson said “global oil demand is nearing pre-pandemic levels of early 2020 and more importantly, oil supply is now rising fast” (Royal Gazette – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Nicaragua changed its energy team to help New Fortress Energy. President Daniel Ortega reshuffled his energy authorities to avoid the impact of US sanctions ahead of the launch of New Fortress Energy’s LNG project (Argus Media – English). The 25-year project, whose start date has been delayed several times, features delivery of 420,000 t/yr of LNG.


Promigas will go after the Jobo-Medellín pipeline. The company confirmed its interest to bid to operate the US$400m Jobo-Medellín pipeline (BN Americas – English). The line is expected to begin operation by December 2024, transporting 100Mf3/d from the Jobo gas processing facility.


Asoenergía complained about Colombia’s natural gas supply. According to its data, the Colombian Association of Great Industrial and Commercial Energy Consumers (Asoenergía) noticed a weak supply and transportation system in the natural gas service between August and September (Valora Analitik – Spanish).


Colombia’s new natural gas law could be good. According to the head of the Colombian Association of Natural Gas (Naturgas) the new natural gas law will allow some sectors to increase the demand of natural gas (Portafolio – Spanish). The new rule will allow to extend the coverage.



Electric Power & Renewables


El Salvador will power up a bitcoin city with a volcano. El Salvador says it plans to build the world’s first “Bitcoin City,” which will be powered by a nearby volcano (VOANews – English). Bukele said the planned city would be financed with bonds linked to virtual currencies.


Central America’s poultry sector will rely on solar. The feasibility of solar power has already been proven in poultry operations in Panama, Colombia, and Honduras (Wattagnet – English). The unreliability of the regions’ electricity grids and high energy costs are contributing to the growing interest in solar energy.


The Dominican Republic okayed 93MW of solar. The National Energy Commission (CNE) awarded definitive concessions for two solar photovoltaic (PV) projects promising some 93MW/105.72MWp of new capacity (Renewables Now – English).


Barbados will get help for its energy plan. The Country Representative for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) pledged to support Barbados’ renewable energy plan (Barbados Today – English). She praised the country for the recent release of an integrated resource and resiliency plan.


Bermuda will use waves for power. Seabased said it has signed an agreement with the Bermuda government to advance the development of a 40MW commercial ocean wave power park (Renewable Now – 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 December 14.


The Hydrogen Congress for Brazil is scheduled for February 22-23, 2022.


The Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum will be held April 26-28, 2022, at the JW Marriott Marquis, in Miami.



Lateral Thinking


AES Dominicana handed out carbon credit certificates. The company noticed the effort of 42 companies and industries in the country to compensate 134,512 tons of carbon dioxide through neutral-carbon natural gas (Diario Libre – Spanish). The companies received neutral natural gas from five AES Dominicana distributors.



Quote of the Week


“Todavía huelo la espuma del mar que me hicieron atravesar.”


“I can still smell the foam of the sea that I was forced to cross.”



– Nancy Morejón (1944), Cuban poet, critic, and essayist.




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