Energy news in brief

** Among President Biden’s 17 executive orders signed Wednesday was one directing the Interior Department to halt all action related to oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that the Trump administration sold earlier this month, and the agency must conduct a new study on the environmental impact of drilling in the refuge.

** Advocates file a legal challenge to 890 oil and gas leases in the West, arguing the Bureau of Land Management failed to account for climate impacts.

**  Methane leaking out of the more than 4 million abandoned oil and gas wells in the United States and Canada is a far greater contributor to climate change than government estimates suggest, researchers from McGill University said on Wednesday.

** Two of the world’s biggest fertilizer producers, CF Industries Holdings Inc and Yara International Asa, are seeking to cash in on the green energy transition by reconfiguring ammonia plants in the United States and Norway to produce clean energy to power ships reported Reuters.

** Bloomberg reported China’s National Energy Administration said in a press release on Wednesday that China added almost 72 gigawatts of wind power in 2020, more than double the previous record. The country also added about 48 gigawatts of solar, the most since 2017, and about 13 gigawatts of hydropower.

** The federal government Tuesday sanctioned Venezuelan businessman Francisco D’Agostino for allegedly helping President Nicolás Maduro’s regime evade a U.S. crackdown on the South American country’s oil exports.

**  Oman’s government named Haifa Al Khaifi as head of a new company that controls the country’s biggest oil block, a rare appointment for a woman in a male-dominated sector in the Middle East.

**  India is hoping U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration will take a softer line against adversaries Iran and Venezuela, enabling the world’s third-largest oil importer to diversify its sources of crude.

** North Dakota lawmakers seek to create a $25 million fund to help spur clean energy investments and a committee to vet potential projects reported Inforum.

** A Kentucky coal executive who pleaded guilty to lying to federal inspectors in 2003 receives a pardon from President Donald Trump.

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