Energy news in brief

** The Nagashiki Shipping Co.-owned vessel that ran aground last month and spilled oil off the Mauritian coast has broken up.  “The bigger part which was lying outside the lagoon is being towed toward the high seas,” the Shipping Ministry spokesman, Jasvin Sok Appadu, said by phone.

**  China plans to ship large volumes of U.S. crude in August and September countered rising tensions between the two countries and a delay in the review of their trade pact over the weekend. Chinese state-owned oil firms have tentatively booked tankers to transport at least 20 million barrels of U.S. crude for August and September.

** Iran has decided to pre-sell the country’s oil, the main source of the Islamic Republic’s income, to its citizens by offering oil bonds and the government has said it intends to put the oil on the stock market in the framework of an “economic breakthrough”.

** A heat wave across the Western U.S. this weekend will push California’s grid to the limits, as the state charts a course to eliminating fossil fuel power. The weather forecast calls for several days of more than 100 degree Fahrenheit highs across the interior of the state, and close to that in coastal Los Angeles.

** The Trump Administration on Aug. 14 approved U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips Co.’ plan for drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, a wilderness area along the state’s North Slope oil fields.The Bureau of Land Management published a final Environmental Impact Statement for the company’s Willow project, which the agency said could produce more than 160,000 bbl/d over the next 30 years. If constructed, Willow will be the westernmost development on the North Slope.

** President Trump is withdrawing his controversial nomination of William Perry Pendley to lead the Bureau of Land Management. A White House official confirmed the Pendley nomination is being withdrawn. The nomination will not be officially withdrawn until the Senate returns from its annual summer recess in September, multiple sources said.

** Up to 250,000 PG&E ratepayers were affected by rolling blackouts imposed by California’s grid operator on Friday to preserve system stability due to a “heat storm” that drove up energy use.

** A planned quarry in Nevada that would supply key materials for electric car batteries and wind turbines may not open due to the presence of a rare plant.

** A new Arizona regulation is limiting rooftop solar installations in some Tucson neighborhoods.

** The Trump administration is expected to punt on tough ethanol decisions until after the November election to avoid triggering a backlash from either farmers or the petroleum sector, according to several people in the ethanol and oil industries who have been in contact with EPA and the White House.

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