The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


October 19, 2020 edition–The Matapal’s field; Colombia’s solar; and El Salvador’s natural gas progress.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America.

Guatemala will offer generators maintenance; Airtificial will have a solar farm in El Salvador; and El Salvador checked on its first natural gas plant.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. United Oil & Gas Limited doubled its efforts; a new unit will operate in the Dominican Republic’s Hatillo; the IEEFA opposes LUMA’s contract; and Turks and Caicos drafted a gas drilling bill.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. BPTT started working on the Matapal field; and the IMF took a look at Trinidad & Tobago’s financial sector.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. ExxonMobil extended its contract with Noble Corp. PLC in Guyana; Venezuela’s crude blending restarted; and Colombia is all about solar.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in AES Dominicana’s opinion on Punta Catalina (Dominican Today – English); the Punta Catalina sale (Diario Libre – Spanish); and the NFE’s situation in Puerto Rico ( – Spanish).



Government & NGO


The IMF studies Trinidad & Tobago’s financial system. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Financial System Stability Assessment (FSAP) with Trinidad and Tobago. The banking system was well capitalized and liquid but exposed to sovereign risk and potential liquidity risks stemming from non-bank financial entities in the group on the eve of the COVID-19 crisis (IMF – English).


The IDB will boost The Bahamas’ business. The Inter-American Development Bank approved a US$200m loan to boost business in The Bahamas (Tribune 242 – English). The funding is designed to support micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise continuity while modernizing the institutional and legal framework to protect natural resources.


The IMF had bad news for El Salvador. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a 9% contraction in El Salvador’s economy in 2020 (El Mundo – Spanish). The IMF expects the Central American nation will not recover to the levels before COVID-19 until 2023 (El Mundo – Spanish).


Cuba was elected to the UN Human Rights Council. Despite the US campaign against Cuba’s candidacy, the Caribbean island was overwhelmingly elected as a standing member during the period 2021-2023 (Prensa Latina – English). Cuba reaffirmed its commitment to an international order based on inclusion, social justice, human dignity, and the promotion of and respect for cultural diversity.


The Dominican Republic’s remittances grew during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dominican Republic’s central bank said that remittances keep growing, registering US$77.4m in September, 37.1% more than in the same period in 2019 (Diario Libre – Spanish). The World Bank expects the Dominican Republic economy to fall 4.3% (Dominican Today – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


BPTT started working on the Matapal field. BPTT announced that they have started working on the Matapal field development and the project is expected to produce first gas in 2022 (Energy Now – English). The development will have a production capacity of 400 million standard cubic feet per day.


United Oil & Gas Limited doubled its efforts. The company is looking to double the sites for possible drilling in Jamaica’s waters (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The company has decided to commission “at least 10 further targets” by the end of the year.


ExxonMobil extended its contract with Noble Corp. PLC in Guyana. ExxonMobil extended the contract with Noble Corp. PLC for use of the Noble Tom Madden ultra-deepwater drillship by 6.5 years (OGJ – English). The additional term extends the contract until mid-August 2030.


Touchstone found natural gas at Chinook-1. Touchstone completed drilling the Chinook-1 exploration well on the Ortoire exploration block, onshore Trinidad (Energy Now – English). The well encountered significant hydrocarbon accumulations based on wireline log data, and it is the third exploration well drilled on the Ortoire exploration.


Hess freed up US$505m to fund Guyana’s oil. Hess Corporation sold a 28% working interest in the Shenzi Field for a total consideration of US$505m to invest further in Guyana’s oil development (News Americas Now – English). Hess Corp. also announced plans to invest approximately US$1.8bn in the Payara Development project.


Turks and Caicos drafted a gas drilling bill. The Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation Bill was launched to provide a legislative framework to manage and regulate exploration and production of petroleum within the territory (TC Weekly News – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The US-Venezuela conflict may be an environmental risk. Eni’s plans to drain a Venezuelan floating oil storage vessel were delayed because of concerns over US sanctions (Argus Media – English). Caracas has denied any problems with the vessel while others consider it a potential environmental risk.


Venezuela’s crude blending restarted. The PDVSA boosted its oil blending operations to a six-month high after some upgraders restarted work (Oil Price – English). The Petropiar upgrader produced 115,000 barrels of Hamaca crude on October 13 and the Sinovensa upgrader produced 158,000 barrels of Merey crude.


Bahamians criticized gas station restrictions. Gas station operators said the COVID-19 ban on in-store customers and the cut in hours are the “final nail in the coffin.” The sector recognizes the measures are a collective effort to stop COVID-19 in The Bahamas, helping reduce the spread of the pandemic (Tribune 242 – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombia is hitting the gas on the Pacific LNG plans. Investors will be offered financial incentives to speed up the development of the Pacific LNG import project (BN Americas – English). The government seeks to avoid natural gas shortages, with the new infrastructure regasifying up to 400 million cubic feet per day.


El Salvador checked on its first natural gas plant. The Economy Ministry visited the LNG-to-power plant with a construction progress of 55% ( – Spanish). The Acajutla plant will generate 378MW of clean energy and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.


Colombia’s gas demand keeps dropping. Natural gas demand fell to 907 GBtu per day from 917 GBtu per day registered in the previous week (Valora Analitik – Spanish). The commercial sector and the refineries increased their demand by 3.9% and 8.9%, respectively.



Electric Power & Renewables


A new unit will operate in the Dominican Republic’s Hatillo. The head of the Empresa de Generación Hidroeléctrica Dominicana (Egehid) visited the Hatillo and Rincón’s dams and hydroelectric plants. The new generation unit will produce 10.7MW and is working in trial mode (Diario Libre – Spanish).


Guatemala will offer generator maintenance. The National Institute of Electricity of Guatemala will bid the maintenance of generators and auxiliary equipment for the Chixoy hydroelectric plant (Central America Data – Spanish). The deadline for the bidding is December 15, 2020.


The IEEFA opposes LUMA’s contract. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said that the contract signed with the LUMA Energy consortium may prevent Puerto Rico from building a safe, reliable, and resilient electrical system (Caribbean Business – English).


El Salvador’s industrial sector asked to prioritize renewables. The Salvadorian Association of the Industrial Sector (ASI) asked the government to modify the renewable energy injection model to allow a greater renewable generation participation (El Mundo – Spanish). The goal is to boost renewables.


Airtificial will have a solar farm in El Salvador. Airtificial Intelligence Structures said it has commissioned a 6.3MW solar farm in El Salvador (Renewables Now – English). The plant will sell its output (estimated at some 13,000 MWh) at market prices.


Colombia is all about solar. Trini Solar cut the ribbon on a 20MW solar plant in Colombia (PV Magazine – Spanish), while GreenYellow will build a 25MW solar plant on the coast (PV Magazine – Spanish). Colombia approved subsidies of up to 86% for solar energy users in remote areas (PV Magazine – Spanish).



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


Costa Rica’s researchers created a new algorithm to identify solar system failures. Costa Rica’s Technology Institute has developed a new algorithm to notice errors in solar systems (PV Magazine – Spanish). A new algorithm that identifies five types of errors in solar systems will also track when they are resolved.



Quote of the Week


“I believe the world is beautiful, and poetry, like bread, is for everyone.”



– Rodrigo Caryl Phillips (1935-1975), Salvadoran poet, journalist, and intellectual.



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