Energy briefs

** The Biden administration confirmed Feb. 13 that the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) will be selling 26 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an attempt to counter forthcoming Russian oil production cuts — and to provide preventive relief for another potential summer gas price surge.

** Ford Motor Tuesday said it’s pausing production on its popular F-150 Lightning because the electric pickup truck might have a battery problem.

** The Biden administration unveiled a new set of measures Wednesday designed to tackle a persistent problem with driving long distances in an electric vehicle (EV): finding a charging station that works for your car’s model. The plan announced Wednesday, officials hope, will gradually do away with the issue by building out a network of both government and private chargers that work with any EV.

** A key pipeline supplying natural gas to California is returning to service, signaling some price relief after an 18-month interruption that helped propel a surge in heating and power costs in the state. Kinder Morgan Inc.’s El Paso unit has completed restart activities on its Line 2000 and lifted a force majeure in place since August 2021, with flows set to increase beginning this week, the operator said in a notice.

** A spokeswoman for New York Gov. Hochul addressed misinformation about the governor’s plan to address climate change. Amid a national uproar over potential bans on gas stoves, Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said the state is working to set the record straight. “We are not taking away gas stoves, as one example of perhaps misinformation we need to correct,” Harris told lawmakers during a legislative hearing.



** More releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve aren’t a threat to the global market, the UAE’s energy minister says. Suhail Al Mazrouei told Bloomberg that the UAE is focused on ensuring market balance.

** The International Energy Agency boosted forecasts for global oil demand as China reopens its economy following years of anti-Covid lockdowns. The agency raised global demand estimates by a hefty 500,000 barrels a day for the first quarter, and by just under half as much for the year as a whole. As a result, world consumption will climb by 2 million barrels a day this year to average 101.9 million a day, it said in a monthly report.

** Europe got lucky — it managed to avert an energy crisis, all thanks to a warm winter. But it has another problem. Countries in the region hoarded so much natural gas at higher prices that it’s now stuck with stockpiles of the fuel that have depreciated in market value.

** Australia’s ambition to ease China’s stranglehold on production of a key battery compound has hit further hurdles after Wesfarmers Ltd. said its lithium refinery would be delayed by six months.

** Global spending on electric vehicles is surging. According a new report published by BloombergNEF on investment in the energy transition, annual spending on passenger EVs hit $388 billion in 2022, up 53% from the year before.

** Guyana’s oil potential could be even greater than anticipated. Since 2015, global energy supermajor ExxonMobil has made a slew of high-quality petroleum discoveries in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana which the company estimates contain over 11 billion barrels of recoverable oil resources.

** The European Parliament formally approved a law to ban the sale of new gas and diesel cars in the European Union starting in 2035 in a move designed to speed up the transition to electric vehicles.