The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


September 7, 2020 edition–Exxon’s third project approval; Trinidad & Tobago’s pipes; and Central America’s natural gas.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Central America is turning to natural gas; Guatemala presented its 2021 budget; and Costa Rica wants some credit from the IMF.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The Itabo II power plant went off; PREPA goes for solar; and Jamaica’s Wisynco refinanced the LNG plant investment.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. CDB awaits good news from St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ geothermal project; BG International will have steel pipes in Trinidad & Tobago; and Subsea 7 has work to do there as well.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Exxon pushes for the third Guyana oil project’s approval; Colombia’s oil production increased slightly; and Venezuela’s coast is menaced by a storage tanker about to sink.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Enel Green Power’s PPA (PV Magazine – Spanish); Puerto Rico’s renewable energy program (Caribbean Business – English); and El Salvador’s natural gas plant (El – Spanish).



Government & NGO


The Bank of Jamaica forecasts a severe contraction. Jamaica’s central bank governor said the economy is expected to contract between 7% and 10% during the 2020/21 fiscal year (Loop Jamaica – English). A partial economic recovery is expected to start in the 2021/22 fiscal year.


The IMF finished its Barbados visit. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that the COVID-19 crisis had a major impact on Barbados’ economy, but the Caribbean nation continues to make progress implementing its economic reform program (IMF – English).


Venezuela’s economy sank 32.8%. Venezuela’s economy continued to sink, reaching a 32.8% fall compared to the second quarter of 2019 (El Economista – Spanish). The Caribbean nation’s economy has contracted 90% in the last seven years.


Costa Rica wants some credit from the IMF. Costa Rica requested financial assistance of US$1.7bn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stop the contraction of its economy and the fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis (El Economista – Spanish).


Guatemala presented its 2021 budget. Guatemala’s Finance Ministry published the budget for next year, which amounts to Q99.7bn and provides economic resources to reactivate the economy (DCA – Spanish). The budget includes rural development, 15 road projects, and an improvement in health infrastructure.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Colombia’s oil production increased slightly. The Mines and Energy Ministry said average monthly production in August reached 743,400 barrels per day in Colombia, a 1% growth compared with the previous month (Valora Analitik – Spanish). Gas production reached 1.88 billion cubic feet per day, a 5% increase.


Subsea 7 has work to do in Trinidad & Tobago. Subsea 7 announced it was awarded a contract to work offshore Trinidad & Tobago (Globe News Wire – English). The contract covers project management, engineering, procurement, and installation. Installation activities are scheduled for 2021.


Exxon pushes for the third Guyana oil project’s approval. Exxon Mobil Corp is pressing the new government to approve its third offshore oil project (Reuters – English). The project has been under a months-long review coinciding with the political changes in the South American nation.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


QBS expands bunkers operations through Colombia’s Santa Marta port. Quality Bunkers Supply (QBS) has expanded its operations to provide marine fuel options via the port of Santa Marta. QBS is active in the bunker markets of Barranquilla and Cartagena (Platts – English).


Harvest Natural Resources dropped its suit against Ramirez. The Houston energy firm dropped a lawsuit against Rafael Ramirez, former Venezuelan oil minister and president of PDVSA, accused of orchestrating demands for a US$10m bribe (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The company’s previous default judgement against Ramirez for US$472m in 2018 was later dismissed.


The Dominican Republic needed less fuel. The country’s oil bill was US$1.2bn, a 47.1% fall in the first seven months of the year compared to the same period in the previous year (Dominican Today – English). The reason is the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Venezuela’s coast is menaced by a disabled storage tanker. The storage tanker Nabarima at the Corocoro field was listing to starboard, flooding the engine room and nearby compartments (Argus Media – English). The floating oil storage’s (FSO) conditions are stable and the water leak has been solved (Argus Media – English).


St. Kitts & Nevis deflagged four tankers. The Caribbean nation stripped four oil tankers of its flag after an investigation found that 15 tankers under various flags manipulated their trackers to skirt the US sanctions on Iran’s oil exports (Oil Price – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Central America is turning to natural gas. Several countries in the region are promoting natural gas projects but, according to businessmen and authorities, there is a lack of technical, environmental, and social regulation (El Periódico – Spanish). AES Panamá is considering several natural gas sales projects in the region.


Jamaica’s Wisynco refinanced its LNG plant investment. Wisynco refinanced its investment in its cogeneration plant under a new J$500m financing agreement (Loop Jamaica – English). The manufacturer, located in Lakes Pen, St. Catherine, contracted New Fortress to commission the 2MW dual fuel engine generator and also provide the LNG for fuel.


BG International will have steel pipes in Trinidad & Tobago. Corinth Pipeworks signed an agreement with BG International to build steel pipes in connection with the development of Block 22 and NCMA-4, a gas field located in Trinidad & Tobago (World Pipelines – English). The agreement covers 93 kilometers of 16-inch pipe.


NewGen and Tringen signed an MOU to work on green hydrogen. The Tringen Ammonia Plant and NewGen Energy Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the potential supply of green hydrogen in Trinidad & Tobago. Green hydrogen will be used in the production of ammonia (Guardian – English).



Electric Power & Renewables


The Itabo II power plant went off. According to the Unified Council of Electricity Distribution Companies (EDE), a puncture in the boiler left the Itabo II power plant without service (Dominican Today – English). The plant generates 130MW for the Dominican Republic’s National Interconnected Electric System (SENI).


PREPA goes for solar. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) will acquire thousands of megawatts of renewables and storage in the coming years, rejecting natural gas additions (Green Tech Media – English). PREPA presented a modified plan with an even higher proportion of renewables.


The Dominican Republic launched a renewable energy generation forecast. The OC-SENI launched a service that will estimate the renewable energy generation in the next 72 hours (PV Magazine – Spanish). The service is being implemented by Energy & Meteo Systems.


The Dominican Republic will not bet on power plants. The new government of the Dominican Republic will support private sector investments by domestic and foreign actors (Renewables Now – English). The minister said the government will not invest in “another Punta Catalina.”


CDB awaits good news from St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ geothermal project. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is interested in the ultimate outcome of the geothermal exploration in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Search Light – English). The CDB remains “fully engaged and interested and will support to the extent feasible along the way.”



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 7th Geothermal Congress for Latin America & the Caribbean (GEOLAC) will be held September 15-17.


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



Lateral Thinking


The IDB boosts Caribbean innovation. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched the Pivot Movement to harness the most innovative ideas for Caribbean development and create a plan for the future of the region (IADB – English). The Pivot Movement runs from September 2 to September 18, with a US$5,000 cash prize.



Quote of the Week


“Do not allow old sorrow to enslave you, once again.”


– Nydia Ecury (1926-2012), Aruban-Dutch writer.



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