The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


October 4, 2021 edition–Panamá’s hydrocarbon rules; Cuba’s oil; and Martinique’s waste.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America.

Panamá will update its hydrocarbon rules; El Salvador will mine bitcoin at a geothermal plant; and Panamá closed its last coal-fired plant.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The Dominican Republic’s power demand will grow 10%; Melbana Energy got good signs in a Cuban well; and the Dominican Republic’s power subsidy reached US$900m.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Touchstone made another discovery in Trinidad; Martinique will turn waste into hydrogen; and Methanex Trinidad and Trinidad’s national energy company will partner up.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Venezuela and Iran agreed on an oil-condensate swap deal; and Ecopetrol is sending more crude to Asia.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in renewable-linked natural gas bunkers (Maritime Executive – English); Colombia’s natural gas supply (Valora Analitik – Spanish); and Colombia’s LNG demand (BN Americas – English).



Government & NGO


Barbados’ economy will rely on innovation. The head of the Barbados Private Sector Association said Barbadian business should embrace more innovation and explore renewable energy to achieve sustained growth (Barbados Today – English). The association warned of the destructive effect of the pandemic and the lockdown in small businesses.


Cuba will be at the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy. Cuban Energy and Mines Minister Livan Arronte will speak in the meeting via videoconference (Prensa Latina – English). Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel defended the need to end the waste of natural resources.


European Union observers will vet Venezuela’s elections. The European Union will send observers to Venezuela’s regional elections for November 21 (Reuters – English). More than 3,000 regional and municipal representatives will be elected, after three years of opposition election boycotts.


Colombia’s interest rate went up. The Caribbean nation’s central bank increased the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 2%, the first change in a year, as the central bank tries to control inflation (Reuters – English). The bank also increased its GDP and inflation predictions for the year to 8.6% and 4.5%, respectively.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Touchstone made another discovery in Trinidad. The Canadian company completed drilling the Royston 1 exploration well and encountered substantial hydrocarbons accumulations (Natural Gas World – English). A total of 393 feet of hydrocarbon pay was encountered and production testing is expected to take place in late October.


Sucre Energy fights gas flaring at Monagas. Sucre Energy Group (SEG) is fighting gas flaring north of Monagas, Venezuela, where approximately 1,700 million cubic feet per day are lost (Petroguía – Spanish). The company expects to be able to export and at an international reference price.


Melbana Energy got good signs in a Cuban well. The Australian operator drilling the Alameda-1 exploration well found oil just below the casing point at 454 meters to the current depth of 1047 meters (Upstream Online – English). Drilling continued towards the first of the three mapped objectives.


Panamá will update its hydrocarbon rules. The Energy Department issued a request for information (RFI) to update the hydrocarbons regulation (BN Americas – English). The goal is to facilitate the entry of new actors and promote a greater diversity of suppliers.


APA Corporation found non-commercial quantities of hydrocarbons in Suriname. APA Corporation announced the results from appraisal drilling at Keskesi South-1 on Block 58 offshore Suriname (Energy Now – English). Keskesi South-1 found non-commercial quantities of hydrocarbons and the well has been plugged and abandoned.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Venezuela and Iran agreed on an oil-condensate swap deal. Venezuela agreed to swap its heavy oil for Iranian condensate to improve the quality of its crude (Reuters – English). A 2.1-million-barrel cargo of condensate began discharging this week (Reuters – English).


Seven Venezuelan workers were arrested for restarting a refinery. Seven Venezuelan oil workers were detained by military counterintelligence officers. The workers tried to restart the 45,000-bpd reformer unit, damaging one of the plant’s compressors (Reuters – English).


Ecopetrol is sending more crude to Asia. Approximately 63% of Ecopetrol’s crude exports were shipped to Asia in 2021, a significant increase compared to 52% in 2020 and 12% in 2008 (Reuters – English). Ecopetrol created a new marketing subsidiary in Singapore earlier this year.


Methanex Trinidad and Trinidad’s national energy company will partner up. The subsidiary of the Canadian methanol producer and the Caribbean nation’s National Energy Company will launch a feasibility study on the use of the use of methanol as an alternative marine and transport fuel (Ship and Bunker – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombia gave more time to the Pacific LNG tender. The Mines and Energy Ministry extended the deadline for bids in the tender for the Pacific LNG project until November 11 (BN Americas – English). Results are expected on November 30.


Promigas reflected on the Cartagena LNG expansion plans. According to Promigas, Colombia should focus on expanding the Cartagena LNG regasification plant before considering others (BN Americas – English). Promigas plans to increase capacity at the Cartagena terminal.


A new pipeline between Jobo and Medellín got the okay. The Jobo – Medellín – Mariquita – Bogotá pipeline will start construction this year (Portafolio – Spanish). The project will move fuel from the Córdoba, Sucre, and south of Bolívar fields inland.


Natural gas prices will remain up until 2022. Moody’s expect natural gas prices to remain above between US$2 and US$3 dollars per million BTU (Valora Analitik – Spanish). The price range could increase due to increased production costs or inflation.



Electric Power & Renewables


Panamá plans to expand distributed generation. The Central American nation published the preliminary version of the National Strategy of Distributed Generation (PV Magazine – Spanish). The plans include the simplification of installation permits, sale of surplus power, and increase in capacity limits, among other provisions.


Martinique will turn waste into hydrogen. The Caribbean island plans a program to turn 9,000 tons of waste into hydrogen every year to power buildings and municipal buses (Smart Cities World – English). Martinique will work with Ways2H and Valecom on the project.


Sun will power up 1,993 Colombian families. The Mines and Energy Ministry approved six new projects to install individual and grid-connected solar systems to provide power to 1,993 families (PV Magazine – Spanish). The projects will receive more than US$11m.


Panamá closed its last coal-powered plant. Panamá’s regulator Asep approved Bahía las Minas (BLM) to take 120MW of coal-powered capacity from the national interconnected system (SIN) (BN Americas – English). The goal is to transition to an increasingly renewable matrix.


El Salvador will mine bitcoin at a geothermal plant. Workers delivered and installed cryptocurrency mining equipment at a geothermal power plant (Renewables Now – English). Global bitcoin mining has consumed some 99.1 TWh so far this year.


The Dominican Republic’s power demand will grow 10%. The Dominican Association of the Electricity Industry (ADIE) expects power demand in the country to grow significantly, between 8% and 10% this year, compared to 2020 results (Dominican Today – English).


The Dominican Republic’s power subsidy reached US$900m. The electricity subsidy that the Caribbean nation estimated for 2021 will reach between US$895m and US$900m, due to the international rise in the prices of generation fuels (Dominican Today – English). The figure estimated for 2021 was US$747m.




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 Future of Energy Virtual Conference will be held October 12-14.


The Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum is scheduled for October 27-28.



Lateral Thinking


El Salvador and Panamá will boost energy efficiency. The first meeting for the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Competency Certification (BN Americas – English) process in Panama City took place with the presence of El Salvador’s National Energy Council, Panamá’s National Energy Secretariat, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, and the cooperation granted by EUROCLIMA +.



Quote of the Week


“¿y el tiempo? Lo imaginamos lento o rápido según la relación que establezcamos entre él y nuestras vidas en base a diferentes estados de ánimo.”


“and time? We imagine it slow or fast depending on the relationship we establish between it and our lives based on different moods.”



– Rogelio Sinán (1902-1994), pseudonym of Panamanian writer Bernardo Domínguez Alba.



We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or energy efficiency tips 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]