The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


September 16, 2019 edition– Costa Rica’s solar traffic lights; Touchstone’s discovery; and Colombia says frack no.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. The sun will power up Costa Rica’s traffic lights; thermal energy is powering Panamá; and the ANG is fighting the CRIE over Guatemala’s disconnections.


Greater Antilles. Moody’s approved the addition of bond issuers for Prepa RSA; and a Dominican Republic community will work on solar power alone.


Lesser Antilles. Touchstone found natural gas on the Ortoire exploration block; Curacao’s refinery will partner up with Klesch to replace PDVSA; and BHP offered services at the Ruby project.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Oil exploration is blowing up in Guyana and Suriname; Colombia will not allow fracking…for now; and PDVSA was looking for 2.96 million barrels.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the small-scale LNG market (English); the effect of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas (English); and natural gas opportunity in the Caribbean (English).



Political Economy


The CDB and the IDB offered the Bahamas help. The Inter-American Development Bank offered the Bahamas US$100m in emergency funding to finance the reconstruction efforts (English). The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will offer health support to overcome the trauma of Hurricane Dorian (English).


The IMF is happy with Barbados’ efforts. The International Monetary Fund said the Caribbean nation continues making good progress implementing its economic reform program. The country met all the goals set by the end of June under the Extended Fund Facility (English) and the next visit will be in November (English).


Moody’s approved the addition of bond issuers for Prepa RSA. The international rating agency described as “significant progress” the incorporation of two monoline bond insurers to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (Prepa’s) restructuring support agreement (RSA) (English). The bond insurers could help the utility avoid being forced into receivership.


Venezuela intervened in Banco Occidental de Descuento. The Venezuelan banking regulator launched a temporary state intervention in the private bank Banco Occidental de Descuento (BOD), after the bank’s offshore affiliate in Curaçao closed (English). The measure will last 120 days and could be extended.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Oil exploration is blowing up in Guyana and Suriname. After Tullow Oil’s discovery at Jethro, oil exploration in the area traditionally known as “The Guianas” is skyrocketing (English). According to the Tullow CEO, the whole area seems “to be characterized by excellent quality reservoirs.”


Touchstone found natural gas on the Ortoire exploration block. Touchstone Exploration announced that the first exploration well on Trinidad and Tobago’s Ortoire exploration block found four zones with prospective natural gas accumulations. The Coho-1 exploration well reached a depth of 8,560 feet (English).


BHP is hiring for the Ruby project. BHP Trinidad and Tobago seeks Expressions of Interest from local contractors to contribute to the drilling and completion campaign at the Ruby Project, offshore Trinidad and Tobago (English). The services include tubular running services, directional drilling, MWD & LWD tools, and drilling and completion fluids.


Colombia will not allow fracking…for now. The State Council upheld a temporary ban on fracking. While environmentalists’ groups celebrated the decision, the Colombian oil chamber said it respects the court’s decision although it contradicts a committee of experts’ recommendations (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Curacao’s refinery will partner up with Klesch to replace PDVSA. Refinery (RdK) Curacao chose Klesch Petroleum to replace PDVSA as the Isla Refinery’s new operator. The goal is for negotiations to be completed in three months, reaching a final agreement by November (English).


Equinor had to manage an oil spill at the Bahamas. Equinor sent a response team to coordinate the efforts to clean an oil spill at the South Riding crude oil storage and transshipment facility, affected by Hurricane Dorian (English). None of its staff was at the site during the storm (English).


Paria called for security and technical services. Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited (Paria) is looking to prequalify service providers to provide Security and Technical Services to the Pointe-a-Pierre terminal facilities in Trinidad (English). Paria focuses on responsible and efficient terminal operations facilitating the importation, exportation, and trading of petroleum products.


Trinidad and Tobago’s NGC announced the construction of a gas pipeline and metering station. The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC) will construct a natural gas pipeline and metering station from the Couva-Preysal Interchange, Preysal Roundabout, to NGC CNG’s proposed Preysal CNG Station (English).


PDVSA was looking for 2.96 million barrels. The Venezuelan state-owned company was seeking 2.96 million barrels of refined products and naphtha in September to compensate for low refinery work and to maintain oil production (English). PDVSA’s refineries are working below capacity, resulting in shortages of refined products.



Renewables & Electricity


The ANG is fighting the CRIE over Guatemala’s disconnections. Guatemala’s National Association of Generators (ANG) complained that the Regional Commission of Power Interconnection (CRIE) did not fulfill the resolutions of the Central American Court (CCJ), which ordered an end to Guatemala’s disconnection from the regional power system (Spanish).


A Dominican Republic community will work on solar power alone. Nature Village will count on solar panels to supply 50 homes and common areas, an aqueduct with solar pumping to have access to clean water (English), and a production venture and marketing of fish thanks to Nature Power Foundation’s and allied institutions’ efforts.


The sun will power up Costa Rica’s traffic lights. In the Greater Metropolitan Area of San José, a solar PV installation is almost complete, and will provide 474 traffic lights with solar panels (English). The project was financed by the Road Safety Council (COSEVI), and its last phase had a cost of US$1.5m.


Almost all of the Freeport grid survived Hurricane Dorian. Grand Bahama Power Company said 80% of its Freeport grid infrastructure withstood the devastation of Hurricane Dorian (English). Restoration efforts started on September 10 and the West Sunrise facility was ready to supply electricity.


Thermal energy is powering Panamá. Power generation from thermal sources increased by 119% in Panamá in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 (Spanish). Renewable energies fell to 3.258 million kwh, or by 33.4% compared to the amount produced in the same period in 2018.



Old School Social


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


Solar Asset Management Mexico & Central America will be held October 8-9 in Mexico City.



Lateral Thinking


A car-sized asteroid exploded over the Caribbean. NASA detected that a 5-meter asteroid named 2019 MO was heading towards the Caribbean, but no measures were taken as the agency knew it would not survive entering the atmosphere and thus would not cause damage to the Earth’s surface (English).



Quote of the Week


“In the Kingdom of Heaven, there is no grandeur to be won, inasmuch as there all is an established hierarchy, the unknown is revealed, existence is infinite, there is no possibility of sacrifice, all is rest and joy.”


– Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980), Cuban writer.



We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or asteroid pieces to


Tell your friends and colleagues about the Weekly Brief! They can sign up for a free one-month trial here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]