The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


October 5, 2020 edition–Payara’s progress; Rainforest’s LNG-powered factory; and Limetree Bay’s startup process.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Nicaragua may become a natural gas rising star; El Salvador’s new mall will turn to renewables; and Guatemala cut the ribbon on a self-supply project.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The Limetree Bay refinery began the startup process; Rainforest will power its Jamaican factory with LNG; and Punta Catalina is facing troubles.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Subsea 7 will work offshore Trinidad & Tobago; Antigua and Barbuda will boost renewables; and Predator Oil and Gas plans to purchase FRAM.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Stena will spud Tullow Oil’s well in Suriname; ExxonMobil keeps pushing for the Payara project; and Iranian fuel entered Venezuelan waters again.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in El Salvador’s FSRU (Riviera – English); the Dominican Republic’s fuel price formula (Acento – Spanish); and Puerto Rico’s power grid (PV Magazine – Spanish).



Government & NGO


The CDB okayed loans for The Bahamas’ and Saint Lucia’s recoveries. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) approved loans of US$40m and US$30m to The Bahamas and Saint Lucia, respectively, to support economic recovery and resilience in both countries (Caribbean News Global – English).


The IMF okayed the increase of Colombia’s flexible credit line. The IMF approved the request for an SDR 4.4174 billion augmentation of access under the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) arrangement (IMF – English). The increase was awarded considering Colombia’s strong institutional policy frameworks and track record of economic performance and policy frameworks.


Remittances grew 29.3% in the Dominican Republic. Thanks to the reactivation of the global economy, remittances sent to the country increased in the last quarter, reaching US$827.7m in July, 29.3% above the same month in 2019 (Dominican Today – English).


El Salvador’s economy fell 19.2% in the second quarter. According to El Salvador’s central bank, the economy dropped 19.22% in the second quarter of 2020. During the first quarter, El Salvador experienced 0.8% growth (El Mundo – Spanish).


Cuba ended Havana’s COVID-19 lockdown. Cuba lifted the curfew and partial lockdown in Havana, in place since September 1 to contain a second wave of the new coronavirus (Reuters – English). Cases dropped to an average of 21 per day over the last week for an infection rate of 0.87.



Oil & Gas Upstream


BPC plans to use Stena IceMAX in the Bahamas. BPC will use the Stena IceMAX for the Perseverance #1 drilling campaign to be spud in December 2020 (Energy Now – English). The drilling contract starts on December 15 and the well should be spud three days later.


Subsea 7 will work offshore Trinidad & Tobago. Subsea 7 was awarded a contract between US$50m and US$150m to work offshore Trinidad & Tobago (Energy Now – English). The contract scope covers the project management, engineering, procurement, installation, and pull-in of one subsea rigid flowline and flexible riser.


Stena will spud Tullow Oil’s well in Suriname. Tullow Oil and project partners awarded the drilling of a wildcat in Block 47 to the Stena Forth drillship (Energy Now – English). Stena did not announce the length of the drilling campaign.


Predator Oil and Gas plans to purchase FRAM. Predator Oil and Gas plans to exercise its option to enter a share purchase agreement to acquire the outstanding issued share capital of FRAM Exploration Trinidad Ltd (FRAM) (Energy Now – English).


Ecopetrol launched Ronda Campos Ecopetrol 2020. Ecopetrol offered nine development and production assets in Colombia, three in Middle Magdalena Valley basin, three in Upper Magdalena basin, and three in Llanos basin. The auction will be held on December 3 with registered companies (OGJ – English).


ExxonMobil keeps pushing for the Payara project… ExxonMobil continues facing delays in approvals for the Payara project (Energy Now – English). The Payara development plan includes a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel named Prosperity, which is expected to produce 220,000 barrels per day (Energy Now – English).


…and SBM Offshore was handed the Payara project contracts. The company confirmed the contracts for the next phase of the Payara development project were awarded. SBM Offshore will construct, install, lease, and operate the Prosperity FPSO for up to two years (Energy Now – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Iranian fuel entered Venezuelan waters again. The first of a group of three tankers transporting Iranian fuel for Venezuela reached the South American nation’s waters. The two following Iranian tankers are estimated to arrive in early October (Reuters – English).


The Limetree Bay refinery began the startup process. The refinery located in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, commenced the startup process in a crude distillation unit and will possibly produce market-ready gasoline by the end of October (Rig Zone – English). Once the unit stabilizes, other units will be operational.


Gasoline directed to Venezuela reached the US. A vessel with 100,000 barrels of gasoline that was suspected to be destined for Venezuela arrived at a US port after a US court okayed a private sale of the cargo (Reuters – English).


PDVSA will go all in on a ship-to-ship hub. Venezuela’s state-owned company informed customers about a new hub for doing ship-to-ship transfers for exports in a location away from shore (Reuters – English). According to three sources, the shift could mean higher costs and less supervision.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Rainforest will power its Jamaican factory with LNG. Rainforest Seafoods will install a 1.5MW natural gas power plant in Kingston with an investment of US$2.5m (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The company will install three 500KW turbines that will be powered up with natural gas.


Nicaragua may become a natural gas rising star. The construction of the project signed between Disnorte-Dissur and New Fortress Energy will be completed in September 2021. The company expects this to be the first project of many in the Central American nation (Energía Limpia para Todos – Spanish).


GEB may be after Colombia’s natural gas expansion. The CEO of Grupo Energía Bogotá said the company could participate in the Buenaventura project depending on how the project risk is shared, and were interested if the government pays upfront and assumes the risk of completion (BN Americas – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


Antigua and Barbuda will boost renewables. The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Partnership Fund announced the start of construction for a clean energy plant to help Antigua and Barbuda recover from the effects of Hurricane Irma in 2017 (Oil and Gas 360 – English). The Green Barbuda project will receive US$50m.


Barbados’ FTC okayed rates for larger renewable systems. The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) together with the Utilities Regulation Act decided that providers seeking to supply the national grid with energy from renewable energy sources above 1MW are able to do so through the feed-in-tariff (FIT) program (Barbados Today – English).


Guatemala cut the ribbon on a self-supply project. Enertiva announced the development of a new solar self-supply in Guatemala for Grupo Formularios Standard. The project included the installation of 635 solar panels and four inverters (PV Magazine – Spanish).


Punta Catalina is facing troubles. Unit 1 of the Punta Catalina power plant has been out of service since September 27 due to failures in the air quality control system (Dominican Today – English). Meanwhile, the debate regarding the sale of Punta Catalina continues (Dominican Today – English).


El Salvador’s new mall will turn to renewables. The new mall of Grupo Agrisal, Plaza Mundo Apopa, will install a system of 4,000 solar panels to supply power to the common areas (El Mundo – Spanish). The mall is expected to open by the end of October.



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 12th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum is scheduled for October 28-30.



Lateral Thinking


The World Bank will support renewables in Haiti’s hospitals. The World Bank approved US$6.9m in additional financing for renewable energy investments to expand and improve power access for health infrastructure, households, businesses, and community services (World Bank – English). The electricity sector poses a major constraint to economic development and emergency response.



Quote of the Week


“¿De dónde provienen las palabras, que mi mano conoce y yo ignoro?”


“Where do the words come, that my hand knows and I ignore?”



– Rodrigo Rey Rosa (1958), Guatemalan writer.



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