Energy headlines

** The U.S. EPA confirms it’s investigating claims that Texas regulators aren’t doing enough to enforce clean air and water rules.

** A bipartisan group of senators are introducing a bill aimed at limiting the sales of oil from the country’s emergency supply to entities controlled by China. The bill was put forward Wednesday and spearheaded by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) according to The Hill.

** Minnesota-based Allete would be the operator and a key owner of a $2.5 billion transmission line between North Dakota and eastern Montana that aims to connect eastern and western power grids.

** General Motors conditionally agrees to invest $650 million in the developer of the proposed Thacker Pass Mine in Nevada, giving the auto company exclusive access to the mine’s first batch of lithium.

** Scientists say a five-mile long methane cloud spotted by satellites over Wyoming last month may have been caused by a natural gas facility venting the gas after a malfunction.

** California Gov. Gavin Newsom renews calls for a gas price gouging penalty after Chevron and ExxonMobil post record annual profits.

** The U.S. Interior Department releases guidance on how states can apply for $500 million in federal funding for plugging and cleaning up orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells.

** Montana lawmakers consider a bill that would preemptively block local governments from banning energy sources such as natural gas hookups. 

** The construction of a Chinese-owned corn mill in North Dakota will likely be halted after the U.S. Air Force flagged it as a “significant threat to national security.”Fufeng Group, an MSG and xanthan gum manufacturer based in Shandong province, China, previously bought 370 acres of farmland in Grand Forks through its American subsidiary.



** Nearly a month into 2023, Europe’s energy outlook is far more positive than many analysts predicted at the onset of winter.

** Shell more than doubled its annual profit to a record $39.9bn as the oil giant’s boss declared the world would be “desperately in need” of fossil fuels for years to come. The figure on Thursday was one of the highest profits ever posted by a British company.

** The European Commission presented its Green Deal Industrial Plan on Wednesday in response to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with increased levels of state aid to help Europe compete as a manufacturing hub for clean tech products.

** U.S. investors including the investment arms of Intel Corp and Qualcomm Inc accounted for nearly a fifth of investments in Chinese artificial intelligence companies from 2015 to 2021, a report showed on Wednesday.

** China has reportedly banned the export of several important technologies needed to make solar panels, according to a report in the Hong Kong-based Asia Times on Tuesday.