The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


September 27, 2021 edition–Colombia’s LNG; Matapal’s production; and Puerto Rico’s renewables.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala is getting off the MER; Costa Rica’s ICE questions the power system’s changes; and expensive fuel made Honduras’ power tariffs climb.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. JAX-LNG filled up with renewable natural gas; Jamaica will explore the carbon market; and PASH Global will go after Puerto Rico’s sun.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Trinidad’s Matapal production started; and Petrotrin and AV Oil settled their dispute.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia may have to rely on fracking for gas; Venezuela’s heavy oil reserves will be abandoned; and Colombia works on Pacific LNG concerns while LNG demand plummets.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Trinidad & Tobago’s gas production (Offshore Mag – English); Barbados’ “Norwegian model” (Climate Change News – English); and AES’ purchase in Panama (Power-Eng – English).



Government & NGO


Colombia expects US$2bn in Spanish investments. The Caribbean nation expects a 7% growth in 2021. Colombia plans to sign six memoranda of understanding with Spain and seal US$2bn worth of promised investments from Spanish companies (El Economista – Spanish).


Nicaragua and Colombia fight over maritime boundaries. Colombian lawyers dismissed Nicaragua’s claims before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), assuring Bogotá did respect a 2012 ruling on maritime boundaries in the western Caribbean by the same court (Euro News – English).


Trinidad’s property tax will boost its economy. The Caribbean nation’s property tax could help boost its economic needs (News Day – English). There is very little cost to having idle property and no incentives to sell or rent property.


Colombia asked the US to keep Venezuela’s sanctions. Colombia’s President Ivan Duque asked the US to keep sanctions on Venezuela’s government until there is a “clear transition to democracy” (Bloomberg – English).


Guatemala and South Korea’s trade agreement boosted investments and exports. From January to July 2021, exports from Guatemala to South Korea were valued at US$66m and imports were around US$204.4m (Data Export – Spanish). The export sector expects that the trade agreement consolidation could allow manufacturing and farm exports.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Trinidad’s Matapal production started. BP Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) reached first gas at the Matapal project, with three wells that are connected with the Juniper platform via two flowlines (OGJ – English). Initial production of 250-350 MMscfd is expected.


Colombia may have to rely on fracking for gas. To fight a gas shortage by 2024, Promigas pointed out that Colombia may have to use fracking to produce natural gas and oil in non-conventional fields (Valora Analitik – Spanish).


Venezuela’s heavy oil reserves will be abandoned. The Caribbean nation’s heavy oil project reserves will be left stranded as international players are no longer interested (Rig Zone – English). Due to high risks and the unstable deteriorating economy in the country, international players no longer see an upside in Venezuelan projects.


Guyana’s oil sector could be an ace up the sleeve against Venezuela’s claims. The development of the Caribbean nation’s oil and gas sector may be the best chance to maintain its territorial integrity and sovereignty against Venezuela’s claims over the border (News Americas Now – English). Guyana would need additional reinforcements that international allies could offer.


Petrotrin and AV Oil settled their dispute. The Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago and A&V Oil and Gas Limited’s (AV Oil) arbitration was settled (Loop News – English). Petrotrin said it avoided paying millions of dollars in damages to AV Oil.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The US government shielded Citgo from bondholders. The US Treasury extended the suspension of a 2018 license for PdV2020 bondholders to execute their claim to shares in US refiner Citgo until January 21, 2022 (Argus Media – English). The Treasury has been blocking the bondholders from exercising their rights to Citgo since October 2019.


ConocoPhillips pushed to collet PdV debt. ConocoPhillips is Venezuela’s largest individual creditor and has resumed enforcement actions in the Caribbean (Argus Media – English). The interim government is believed to have an “understanding” with the US company to honor the debt agreement.


Expensive fuel made Honduras’ power tariffs climb. Continuous increases in fuel prices have raised the costs of thermal plants and power generation, a 60% increase in tariffs on average (El Heraldo – Spanish). The new tariffs will be sent to the Regulatory Commission of Electric Energy (CREE) for approval.


Guatemala is paying more for LP gas. The LP gas cylinder registered a 10% increase in its price in the Central American nation (Prensa Libre – Spanish). The Energy Ministry has noticed increases in LP gas prices since March.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Colombia works on Pacific LNG concerns while demand plummets. Colombia’s energy planning unit UPME rejected holding separate tenders for the Pacific LNG import terminal and its pipeline (BN Americas – English). The Caribbean nation’s LNG imports fell 93% year on year in the first half of 2021 (BN Americas – English).


Colombia’s Promigas works to secure natural gas supply. Promigas presented a Natural Gas Supply Plan and the demand forecasts for the fuel (Valora Anaitik – Spanish). Promigas counts on broadening the capacity from Cartagena toward Barranquilla to transport gas from the VIM fields and the Spec LNG plant located in Cartagena.


JAX-LNG filled up with renewable natural gas. The bunker supplier for the LNG-powered Isla Bella filled the tanks with fuel linked to renewable natural gas (Maritime Executive – English). In partnership with TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico and Element Markets, JAX-LNG acquired renewable thermal certificates (RTCs).



Electric Power & Renewables


Jamaica will explore the carbon market. The Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment, and Climate Change indicated that the country would explore the possibility of Jamaica entering the carbon market (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The goal is to do it upon finalization of the Paris Rulebook at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26).


Costa Rica’s ICE questions the power system’s changes. According to the head of the Distributed Generation Chamber, the Costa Rican Power Institute (ICE) is delaying the modernization of the power sector (PV Magazine – Spanish). The chamber said the power sector’s current situation cannot continue without affecting clients.


PASH Global will go after Puerto Rico’s sun. PASH Global was awarded a contract to build a 1MW solar farm for Fresenius Kabi at its manufacturing facility in San German, Puerto Rico (Renewables Now – English). The solar farm will generate about 1,504 MWh per year.


Colombia okayed eight new transmission projects. The Mines and Energy Ministry approved the construction of eight new transmission projects in different departments (PV Magazine – Spanish). The goal is to incorporate new renewable projects into the power system in the Caribbean region.


Cuba suffered a complete blackout. A specialist commission will investigate a failure in the power lines of the east region of the Caribbean island (Swiss Info – Spanish). The blackout impacted service in the Holguín, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, and Guantánamo provinces.


Guatemala is getting off the MER. The Central American nation will abandon the Regional Power Market (MER) in 10 years, although the country will have to face the financial costs for the Siepac line, the regulation of the CRIE, the operation service, etc. (El – 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 MEC 2021 Exclusive Virtual Roundtables are scheduled for September 29-October 1.


The Geothermal Direct Use: Global Forum & Tour is scheduled for September 27-29.


The Future of Energy Virtual Conference will be held October 12-14.


The Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum will be held on October 27-28.



Lateral Thinking


A yacht wreck spilled oil into Costa Rica’s nature reserve. A yacht accident caused by a mechanical failure close to Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve left beaches covered with oil, gasoline, and debris (Tico Times – English). The National System of Conservation Areas said cleanups have removed the greatest threat of fuel, spilled oil, and other debris.



Quote of the Week


“I am like a drop of water on a rock. After drip, drip, dripping in the same place, I begin to leave a mark, and I leave my mark in many people’s hearts.”



– Rigoberta Menchú (1959), a K’iche’ Guatemalan human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner.




We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or tips to clean oil spills 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]