The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


October 28, 2019 edition– Colombia’s power auction; BHP’s discovery; and US LNG in Central America.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. TSK will build the biggest solar plant in Central America; US natural gas will be distributed in Central America; and Nicaragua’s Cosep is not afraid of the Energy Stability Law.


Greater Antilles. Puerto Rico asks how to pay for an energy-efficiency campaign; and the Dominican Republic’s wind farms will receive CERs.


Lesser Antilles. BHP made a discovery at Boom-1; and Belco won an award for its battery power system.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Production at the Orinoco Belt increased; Colombia’s power auction awarded 2.2GW; and Tullow Oil will go big or go home in Guyana.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Aruba’s decision to take back control of its refinery (English).



Political Economy


The EIB and the CDB will fund climate resilient projects… The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) signed a deal to improve support for climate resilient projects in the region (English). The new framework will improve project implementation and monitoring.


…and the US will support resilience and energy initiatives in the Caribbean. The US will provide US$1.5m to boost disaster preparedness and resilience under the US-Caribbean Resilience Partnership (English). The investment will fund technical exchanges and consultations between the US resilience experts, ministries, and disaster management officials from the Caribbean.


The crisis in Haiti continues… After six weeks of protests that have paralyzed the capital, 20 people have been killed in the protests, and the Catholic clergy marched, calling for a change of government (English). Some are comparing the Haitian unrest with the recent protests in Ecuador, Chile, and Bolivia (English).


…and so does the economic crisis in Venezuela. Shrimp farming in Maracaibo is booming but 90% of the shrimp is exported. Food producers are selling outside the country to survive and the government is loosening restrictions (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Production at the Orinoco Belt increased. The production level of PDVSA and its partners in Orinoco Belt went up to 403,000 barrels per day, 31% of its maximum capacity from 234,000 barrels per day reported in October 10 (Reuters – English). The recovery is due to an increase in diluent availability.


US sanctions on Venezuela altered Latin American crude oil flows. Imports of Latin American crudes into the US market fell 30% from January to date compared to the same period in 2017 (English). US sanctions on Venezuelan production created openings for other Latin American producers that will have to fight Canadian crudes.


BHP made a discovery in Trinidad and Tobago. BHP announced the discovery of hydrocarbons drilling the Boom-1 well (English). Boom-1 was one of two additional exploration wells drilled in the Northern licenses.


Tullow Oil will go big or go home in Guyana. Tullow Oil plans to expend US$80m on drilling wells in Guyana’s offshore basin (English). The company says it needs to do more appraisal and work on drilling wells to test them.


The US gave the okay to the Occidental Petroleum and Ecopetrol’s partnership. The US federal government approved the joint venture between Ecopetrol and Occidental Petroleum. The deal entails Ecopetrol’s development of 97,000 acres of Occidental’s Midland Basin properties on the Texas side of the basin (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


US Treasury extended Chevron’s waiver to January 22. The US Department of Treasury extended the waiver that allows Chevron and four US oil services companies to work in Venezuela outside of US sanctions (English). Chevron warned that the expiration of the waiver would benefit Russia (English).


US natural gas will be distributed in Central America. The US will increase its sale of LNG in Central America after cutting the ribbon on a big LNG storage tank for its distribution (Spanish). The 180,000 cubic meter tank is located at the Panama Canal, where AES has a natural gas-fired power generation plant.


The US finally decided to lend Citgo a hand. The US intervened in the interim Venezuelan government’s fight with creditors over Citgo’s control by blocking PDVSA 2020 bond holders from seizing their collateral for 90 days (English).



Renewables & Electricity


The Dominican Republic’s wind farms will receive CERs. The two phases of the Los Cocos Wind Farm will be the first to receive Reduced Emission Certificates (CERs) (English). Carbon credits are granted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to promote the reduction of pollutant emissions.


Colombia’s power auction awarded 2.2GW. Colombia awarded 2.2GW of solar and wind energy generation capacity. The average price of the auction was COP95/kWh ($0.027), and the highest offer was COP110/kWh ($0.032/kWh) (Spanish).


TSK will build the biggest solar plant in Central America. Avanzalia chose TSK to build the biggest solar farm in Panamá (Spanish). The solar park will be up and running by December 2019, receiving an investment of US$160m.


Belco won an award for its battery power system. The Nolan Smith Battery Energy Storage System won the Best Energy Storage Project award at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum. The system can instantly provide 10MW of electricity to the grid if there is a generation plant failure (English).


Puerto Rico asks how to pay for an energy-efficiency campaign. Puerto Rico’s governor asked the local Energy Bureau (PREB) to find alternatives to avoid a rate increase for consumers to pay for an energy-efficiency campaign (English). Among the options could be collaborative agreements or access to federal funds.


Nicaragua’s Cosep is not afraid of the Energy Stability Law. The Private Company Board (Cosep) says that the Energy Stability Law maintains the appeal processes for clients who are unhappy with their bill (Spanish). Cosep does not believe the reform was developed to force big companies to pay.



Old School Social


Events in the world beyond your screen—go see and be seen!


Colombia Energía 2019 will be held October 29-30 at W Hotel Bogotá, in Colombia.


Seminario Latinoamericano de GLP is scheduled for November 12-14 in Quito, Ecuador.


Expo Oil and Gas Colombia 2019 will be held November 23-26 at Corferias – Centro de Convenciones in Bogotá, Colombia.


S&P Global Platts 20th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference is scheduled for January 29-31 at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, in Puerto Rico. The leading energy conference in the Caribbean gathers global professionals to discuss regional trends, including power finance and investment, fuel options, IMO, microgrids, infrastructure, natural gas, and much more.




Lateral Thinking


A new crab species was discovered in the Caribbean. Two new porcelain crab species were discovered and described in the ZooKeys journal: one lives in Vietnam, and the other inhabits snail formations in the Caribbean (English). These symbiotic porcelain crabs are more vulnerable to environmental challenges as their life depends on the fate of their host.



Quote of the Week


“L’autre, quand il revient, il convient qu’il retrouve les choses du coeur à la même place. Comme une preuve qu’il nous a manqué.”


“The other, when he returns, he admits that he finds the things of the heart in the same place. As a proof that he missed us.”



– Lyonel Trouillot (1956), Haitian novelist, poet, and professor.




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