** The Biden administration announced that it would complete a 20-year withdrawal of 225,504 acres in a northern Minnesota forest area that is home to some of the largest domestic critical mineral reserves.
** U.S. natural gas futures dropped 4% to a 20-month low despite a big weekly storage draw, as forecasts called for milder weather and lower heating demand next week than previously expected.
** Senator Debbie Stabenow thwarted a bid on Thursday by fellow Democrat Joe Manchin to pass a measure that would block some electric vehicles from receiving a $7,500 tax credit.
** Iowa environmental groups and tech giants Google, Facebook and Microsoft, which have questioned MidAmerican Energy’s proposed $4 billion expansion of its renewable energy capacity, have won a fight for the release of two company internal studies that the groups say will provide critical insight on the project.
** The manufacture of “green steel” moved one step closer to reality Friday as Massachusetts-based Boston Metal announced a $120 million investment from the world’s second-largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal.
** Matador Resources Company MTDR entered an agreement to acquire Advance Energy Partners Holdings LLC in the Delaware Basin for a cash consideration of $1.6 billion. Along with the cash payment, Matador might have to pay an additional $7.5 million of cash each month in 2023 if the average oil price exceeds $85 per barrel.
** China’s access to semiconductors could take yet another hit soon. Japan and the Netherlands will soon join the U.S. in restricting exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China.
** U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday visited South Africa’s coal mining region of Mpumalanga, pledging America’s firm support to ensure the country’s transition to renewable energy does not leave its workers behind.
** Hundreds of climate and environmental groups from around the world released a letter that decried the nomination of an oil executive to oversee the United Nations climate negotiations at COP28 this year.
** Russia is selling record amounts of crude oil to India to plug its shortfalls from the EU oil ban, according to Vortexa. Indian imports hit a record 1.2 million barrels a day in December, and 1.3 million barrels a day in the first two weeks of January.
** Chevron Corp. posted disappointing fourth-quarter results just days after surprising investors with a mammoth $75 billion share-buyback program. Fourth-quarter adjusted profit of $4.09 a share fell 18 cents shy of the Bloomberg Consensus estimate. The company also incurred a $1.1 billion writedown in its overseas business.