The potential market for LNG in the Caribbean and Central America

The Caribbean has been described as a potentially ideal region for LNG imports due to its present dependence on diesel and fuel oil for power generation, high electricity tariffs and its proximity to regional LNG suppliers in Trinidad & Tobago and on the US Gulf Coast. Central America is also attracting investor interest as demonstrated by the construction of an LNG import terminal in Panama.

The region is of interest to the wider LNG industry, as some of the technical, commercial and logistical innovations being developed for the Caribbean may be useful models for developing smaller potential LNG markets elsewhere in the world (e.g. in Africa, SE Asia, Mediterranean islands). While other parts of the world have struggled to progress LNG import plans, new projects have been developed in the Caribbean, such as in Jamaica and Panama, both relying on supply to power plants and alternative business models appropriate to the local markets. The small size of the markets presents logistic and commercial challenges for the supply of LNG and for financing the projects.

This paper provides an overview of the Caribbean markets and the potential for LNG imports across the region. It also investigates the key commercial, logistical and regulatory challenges for the development of a natural gas market in the region.

By: Ieda Gomes , Martin Lambert

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