The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


October 26, 2020 edition–The Calypso project’s future; Bermuda’s power company sale; and Colombia’s oil and natural gas plans. 


Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Cel is looking for a power generation plant design; El Salvador will pay more for power; and Guatemala is following a new economic path.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The BPC’s plans are being questioned; AES Dominicana is an “excellent” finalist in Platts’ Awards; and Bermuda’s power company sale is a done deal.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. BHP needs help at the Calypso project; and the Limetree Bay refinery may be left without BP’s supply.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Canacol plans to drill three wells in Colombia; Colombia’s natural gas has big expansion plans; and a Biden presidency may end US sanctions on Venezuela’s oil.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Colombia’s LNG plans (BN Americas – English); and El Salvador’s interest in renewables (El Mundo – Spanish)



Government & NGO


CCREEE became Caricom’s lead energy partner. The Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) signed a letter of agreement to be the lead energy partner in the development of climate information and services for the energy sector in the Caricom grouping (Jamaica Observer – English).


IRENA and CDF will speed up the energy transition. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) signed a memorandum of understanding to support a transition from fossil fuel dependency to a more resilient and sustainable low carbon economic development model in the Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) (Smart-Energy – English).


Guatemala is following a new economic path. Guatemala has set a strategy to transform the national economy in the next 10 years to boost social and economic development (DCA – Spanish). The plan includes investment in infrastructure, boosting the domestic market, and strengthening export sectors.


The IMF is worried about COVID-19’s effect on the region. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts an 8.1% contraction in Latin America and the Caribbean economies in 2020, while a 3.6% growth is expected for 2021 (Reuters – English). The IMF is concerned that social unrest could return to many Latin American countries after the COVID-19 crisis (Reuters – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


BHP needs help at the Calypso project. BHP Trinidad & Tobago plans to tender the Identification Phase Concept Study associated with the Calypso project (Energy Now – English). The Calypso project includes the development of the deepwater gas discoveries in Blocks 23(a) and TTDAA 14.


BPC’s plans are being questioned. The Andros Island Bonefish Club is concerned with the effect that the slightest “mishap” by the Bahamas Petroleum Company could have on the island’s western side (Tribune 242 – English). A cabinet minister noted that consumers may not appreciate the savings produced by BPL’s fuel hedge strategy (Tribune 242 – English).


Canacol plans to drill three wells in Colombia. Colombia’s largest gas producer presented plans to drill three exploration prospects and one appraisal well by year-end (BN Americas – English). The Fresa 1 exploration well will be completed first in early November.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The Limetree Bay refinery may be left without BP’s supply. If the Limetree Bay refinery in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, is not running by December, it may lose its main supplier of crude, BP (Reuters – English). BP invested in the plant with an agreement to supply it with crude and market the fuels produced.


All eyes are set on FSO Nabarima. The Nabarima floating storage and offloading (FSO) facility, operated by the Petrosucre joint venture between PDVSA and Eni, is undergoing repairs (Reuters – English). PDVSA began a limited transfer of crude (Argus Media – English), while photos and videos show the vessel tilting (Caribbean National Weekly – English).


A Biden’s presidency may end US sanctions on Venezuela’s oil. If he wins, US presidential candidate Joe Biden promised to restore diplomacy with Iran and Venezuela, but not before many months of verifications, talks, and dealmaking (Reuters – English). President Donald Trump’s sanctions on the two countries since 2017 have blocked up to 3 million barrels per day.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


AES Dominicana is an “excellent” finalist in Platts’ Awards. AES Dominicana was selected as a finalist in the category “Excellence” natural gas line in the international “Platts Global Energy Awards” for the positive economic, environmental, and social impact that the introduction and use of this gas fuel has had for the Caribbean nation (Dominican Today – English).


Colombia’s natural gas has big expansion plans. A new government report shows the Caribbean nation plans a seven-fold increase in Colombia’s gas supply over the next two decades (BN Americas – English). Fracking projects would add 6.7Tcf, while offshore finds would contribute 3.9Tcf.


The US LNG export facility in New Jersey may not supply Puerto Rico. The plan to build a major LNG export facility across the Delaware River from Philadelphia may not happen because it faces scrutiny and opposition from environmentalists and nearby communities (E360 Yale – English). The US$450m project would send LNG to ports in Puerto Rico.



Electric Power & Renewables


El Salvador will pay more for power. Homes in the Central American nation will pay over 16% more for power energy in the next three months (El Mundo – Spanish). The tariff variations reflect the production costs of different generators for the three previous months.


Shell wants to speed up The Bahamas’ plant. Shell says “a degree of urgency” is needed to close the deal for New Providence’s power plant (Tribune 242 – English). A Chamber of Commerce executive is against Shell’s power plant deal as it goes against The Bahamas’s fight against climate change (Tribune 242 – English).


Cel is looking for a power generation plant design. The Hydroelectric Executive Commission of Lempa river launched an international public tender to design a new power generation plant in the Acelhuate River (El Mundo – Spanish). The companies must also develop a proposal for the design of a sewage water treatment system.


The Bermuda power company’s sale is a done deal. Ascendant Group Ltd received approval from the Regulatory Authority for the takeover by Algonquin Power and Utilities Corporation. Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson approved the US$365m deal (Energy Central – English).


Colombia’s sun shines bright. A total of 1,086 families will have power access thanks to solar panels in the San Vicente del Caguán municipality (PV Magazine – English), and IDB Invest will invest US$5m in Kingo Energy for the same purpose (PV Magazine – Spanish). Celsia will install 1,456 self-supply solar panels in the Los Molinos Mall (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


FSO Nabarima may risk marine ecosystems. If the FSO Nabarima spills oil in the Gulf of Paria, environmental experts at Trinidad & Tobago’s SpeSeas said both coastal marine habitats and their residents can be affected (Global Voices – English). The extent of such impacts depends on the characteristics and volume of the oil spilled.



Quote of the Week


“[La literatura] Es expresión de la vida social, trasunto de valores humanos, (…) un instrumento que ayuda a la mejor comprensión del ser íntimo de un pueblo.”


“[Literature] is an expression of social life, a transcript of human values, (…) an instrument that helps to better understand the being of a nation.”



– Rodrigo Miró Grimaldo (1912-1996), Panamanian historian and researcher.


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