** The ozone layer — the atmospheric shield that prevents harmful ultraviolet light from reaching the Earth’s surface — is on track to recover, United Nations (U.N.) scientists said on Monday. The U.N. said the ozone layer has shown recovery and will return to its 1980 levels over the next several decades.
** The Congressional Western Conference under the leadership of Washington state U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse announced appointments of new staff including Noah Yantis as Executive Director, Amanda Fitzmorris as Communications Director, and Katie Devlin and Nicole Harrison as Policy Advisors.
** The Interior Department is finishing a five-year plan for new offshore oil and gas leases in federal waters, which could either hasten the decline of the nation’s offshore oil business or lock the country into many more years of drilling.
** The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says its considering a ban on gas stoves after a recent study linked the appliances to childhood asthma. And Massachusetts energy officials are planning to shrink the role of natural gas in heating new buildings, making it one of the latest states to consider a natural gas ban.
** Mercedes-Benz wants to build 400 electric vehicle charging plazas across North America, becoming the latest automaker to invest in charging.
** The top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee blasted a provision in the proposed House rules package that would make it easier to transfer public lands, calling it an indication the new GOP majority intends to pursue a broadly pro-industry agenda.
** In 2022, the wholesale U.S. natural gas spot price at the national benchmark Henry Hub in Louisiana averaged $6.45 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), the highest annual average—in both real and nominal terms—since 2008, based on data from Refinitiv Eikon. The 2022 average Henry Hub real natural gas spot price increased over 53% from 2021, the fourth-largest year-over-year increase in natural gas prices on record, behind only 2000, 2003, and 2021.
** Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has driven home the value of fuel that can be produced within Europe, and it has ramped up the continent’s ambitions for hydrogen. And yet, some hydrogen advocates say the European Union isn’t following through, putting it at a disadvantage to both the US and China.
** Europe has dodged an energy apocalypse this winter, economists and officials say, thanks to unusually warm weather and efforts to find other sources of natural gas after Russia cut off most of its supply to the continent.
** Britain announced new proposals on Monday aimed at avoiding electricity blackouts and incentivising greater investment in low carbon technologies.
** Russian oil giant Rosneft is seeking a slot for its gas reserves to be exported to China via a planned second route of the Power of Siberia pipeline, Russian daily Kommersant reported on Monday, citing sources.
** Shell held talks with Harbour Energy to sell its Norwegian oil and gas fields last year but could not reach a deal due to gas price volatility and uncertainty over the long-term outlook, three company sources told Reuters.