The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


October 11, 2021 edition–Nicaragua’s natural gas plant; ExxonMobil’s discovery; and Puerto Rico’s renewables



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Panamá will have a new thermoelectric plant; and Nicaragua’s first natural gas plant is almost done.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Eaton and Enel X will boost Puerto Rico’s renewables; a fuel spill reached Cuban shores; and the Dominican Republic will bet on renewables.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad & Tobago updated its natural gas production; and Stonepeak goes after Bermuda’s Teekay LNG Partners LP.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. ExxonMobil made yet another discovery offshore Guyana; HDF started construction on its French Guiana green hydrogen-power project; and a diluent shortage hit Venezuela’s oil exports.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Pacific LNG tender (BN Americas – English); Martinique’s waste-to-hydrogen project (Smart Cities World – English); and the Dominican Republic’s power grid (Dominican Today – English).



Government & NGO


Central American exporters asked for help. Central America exporters warned that in many cases, the value of international freight equals the value of the product (El Mundo – Spanish). The association asked for governmental intervention to stop the price increases.


Caribbean ports want to become a hub. The executive director of the Dominican Port Authority met with his Puerto Rican and Curaçaoan counterparts to establish inter-institutional relationships and strategic alliances in the sector to become a logistics hub (Dominican Today – English).


The Dominican Republic expects 10% GDP growth. The Caribbean nation’s central bank forecasts 10% GDP growth or higher thanks to the tourism sector (Diario Libre – Spanish). Remittances that reached the Dominican Republic increased by 38.6% (Diario Libre – Spanish).


Guyana sticks to its guns on the Venezuelan border dispute. Guyana reiterated the need for a peaceful resolution to its border dispute with Venezuela (Loop News – English). Caracas has been calling on Georgetown to abandon the move toward the ICJ.


The US and Panamá discussed infrastructure needs. The president of the Central American nation and the US Deputy National Security Adviser discussed Panamanian infrastructure needs and transparency (Reuters – English). The US representative also traveled to Colombia and Ecuador to promote a G7 infrastructure program aimed at countering China’s Belt and Road initiative.


Trinidad & Tobago worked on its data dissemination system. The Caribbean nation implemented the recommendations of the IMF’s Enhanced General Data Dissemination System, publishing essential data through the National Summary Data Page (IMF – English). Publication of essential macroeconomic data through the NSDP will provide national policymakers and domestic and international stakeholders with easy access to information critical for monitoring economic conditions and policies.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Fracking could be Colombia’s answer. Colombia’s hydrocarbon resources could increase by 25 billion barrels and 200 trillion cubic feet for natural gas (La República – Spanish). Colombia plans four projects to secure supply: two mining projects, a power auction, and an oil round (Portafolio – Spanish).


ExxonMobil made yet another discovery offshore Guyana. The oil giant increased its estimate of the resource for Stabroek block offshore Guyana to about 10 billion after the new discovery at Cataback (OGJ – English). With the Cataback-1 well, the company has made more than 20 discoveries within the block.


Trinidad & Tobago updated its natural gas production. Natural gas production in the Caribbean nation is expected to average 2.77Bcf/d this year and 3.37Bcf/d in 2022. After 2022, production will stabilize at 3.6Bcf/d (BN Americas – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Yaadman’s big petrol station project faced challenges. Yaadman Petroleum planned to develop the largest service station in St Catherine but the National Environment and Planning Agency-Town and Country Planning Authority denied the application to construct and operate the petrol station (Jamaica Gleaner – English).


Diluent shortages hit Venezuela’s oil exports. Venezuela’s oil exports dropped to the lowest in almost a year, due to the lack of diluents (Reuters – English). PDVSA and its joint ventures exported 414,000 barrels per day in a total of 19 cargoes last month, a 34% decline from the previous month.


Venezuela’s coasts suffer oil spills. There have been 53 oil spills in Venezuela between January and September, most of them on the Caribbean coast (Mongabay – English). The oil spills are doing incalculable damage to local ecosystems, which include mangroves and the estuary in Lake Maracaibo.


The Dominican Republic picked up the tab from increasing fuel prices. Worldwide fuel prices, including LP gas, keep increasing, but fuel prices in the Dominican Republic remain low. The Dominican Republic has invested RD$9.1bn to avoid fuel increases and protect Dominican families’ economy (Listin Diario – Spanish).


A fuel spill reached Cuban shores. On top of the electricity crisis that causes blackouts on the island (Havana Times), a fuel spill took place in Matanzas while repairing the Yumurí 201 well (Diario de Cuba – Spanish). The spill affects 60 square meters and CUPET is working to clean the area.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Natural gas vehicles reached the Caribbean. Four new trucks and buses powered up by natural gas arrived in Barranquilla, Colombia (El Tiempo – Spanish). The country is turning to vehicular natural gas as clean transition fuel, as fuels represent 60% of the country’s pollution.


Colombia’s gas producers are concerned with the Pacific LNG plans. Colombian natural gas stakeholders are concerned about the second LNG regasification plant. The president of Colombia’s natural gas association asked Creg and the Energy Ministry to clarify doubts related to the project (BN Americas – English).


Nicaragua’s first natural gas plant is almost done. New Fortress’ natural gas plant is almost completed (80% progress), and is expected to start operations at the end of the month (La Prensa – Spanish). The plant has received US$700m in investment and is expected to produce 300MW.


Karpowership has a natural gas-powered project in the Dominican Republic. The National Energy Commission (CNE) awarded the Turkish group a provisional concession for a 258MW combined cycle plant for Boca Chica (BN Americas – English). Karpowership has 18 months to develop additional studies leading to a definitive concession.


Stonepeak goes after Bermuda’s Teekay LNG Partners LP. The investment firm plans to acquire Bermuda-based Teekay LNG Partners LP in a US$6.2bn transaction (Royal Gazette – English). Stonepeak noticed “the growing global demand for LNG and importance of natural gas as a bridge fuel.”



Electric Power & Renewables


The Dominican Republic struggles with coal. The Energy and Mines Minister said the Punta Catalina Power Plant will not shut down due to the lack of coal, and announced an agreement with Colombia to supply five shipments to continue operations (Dominican Today – English).


The Dominican Republic will bet on renewables. The Caribbean nation’s Minister of Energy and Mines pledged to increase the production of renewable energies to face future challenges of energy supply and society’s growth and welfare (Dominican Today – English). The alert level has been left at yellow.


HDF started construction of its French Guiana green hydrogen-power project. The French hydrogen firm broke ground on the construction of CEOG Power Plant in French Guiana, the world’s first multi-megawatt hydrogen power plant. It includes the largest green hydrogen storage for intermittent electricity sources (New Energy Events – English).


Guyana will invest in solar farms. The government plans to build solar farms with the money obtained from Norway in exchange for keeping its forests intact (Kaieteur News Online – English). The funds amount to US$84m and the farms will be built under the Guyana Utility Scale Solar Photovoltaic Program.


Panamá will have a new thermoelectric plant. A new thermoelectric plant will be built and operated by IGC/ERI in Panamá (Central America Data – Spanish). The first 30MW of the plant will operate in six months. The plant will provide power to Empresa de Distribución Metropolitana (Edemet).


Eaton and Enel X will boost Puerto Rico’s renewables. Eaton and Enel X announced a second joint microgrid project in Puerto Rico, reducing demand on regional energy infrastructure (PR Newswire – English). Eaton will power manufacturing with more renewables and boost energy resilience for its operations.



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


Martinique is shaking with Montagne Pelée’s earthquakes. From September 17 through October 1, Martinique suffered 177 volcanic earthquakes (France-Antilles – French). This seismic activity is associated with micro-fractures in the volcano.



Quote of the Week


“These people are no better or no worse than people anywhere, anything that you can do to help them, help them and you will be surprised to know how they will help you.”



– Lorna Goodison (1947), Jamaican writer.



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