** Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) on Wednesday warned in a securities filing of potential risks to its Kazakhstan oil operations, which provided $2.5 billion in earnings last year. Threats to Kazakhstan oil exports have been in the spotlight since Moscow invaded Ukraine a year ago this week. Exxon and Chevron are major holders in the Central Asia country’s oil production and related export pipeline.
** The Biden administration on Wednesday announced the government’s first-ever offshore “wind lease sale” in the Gulf of Mexico, which will give companies a chance to bid on areas of the Gulf Coast to produce wind energy and contribute to America’s “clean energy transition.
** California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s attempt to get legislative support to penalize oil companies for making huge profits is still sitting in the Democratic-controlled Legislature three months later, with no details on how much the penalty would be or when oil companies would have to pay it.
** U.S. natural gas futures climbed nearly 5% on Wednesday on forecasts for colder weather than previously expected and as investors covered short positions following steep declines.
** An independent scientific agency that advises the federal government on policies that could impact marine mammals said there is no evidence linking site preparation work for offshore wind farms with a number of whale deaths along the U.S. East Coast.
** Big cars and trucks could end up costing California drivers more in vehicle registration fees, if a new bill that was introduced in the state Legislature is approved. Vehicle registration fees in California are based on the value of the car, but a bill introduced by Assemblymember Christopher M. Ward (D-San Diego) would look at what the impact could be if there was a fee based on weight.
** Elon Musk announced on Wednesday that Tesla plans to expand its engineering headquarters in California. The company is taking over Hewlett Packard’s office space in Palo Alto. Tesla moved the company’s headquarters to Texas in 2021, but still employs thousands of workers in California.
** Germany’s chief utility regulator is not ready to sound the all clear on an energy crisis spawned by the war in Ukraine, even with natural gas reserves abundant and prices well down from their peak.
** The International Energy Agency says 0il demand this year could reach a record high, and there may not be enough oil to cover this demand for much longer. This seems to be the gist of a slew of recent news reports and forecasts about our fossil fuel future.
** China has called on the United Nations to investigate the explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, describing the blasts as a “deliberate act” by state actors. At a UN Security Council briefing on Tuesday, Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun said China shared the position of many countries in calling for an investigation “to uncover the truth and identify those responsible”.
** Russia is sending more Arctic crude to India and China. Despite sanctions by other countries over the war against Ukraine, Russia claims an increase in oil production by 2 percent to 535 million metric tonnes, with exports growing by 7 percent.