Energy briefs

** One of the Citgo oil executives who was held for nearly five years in Venezuela has sued his company for $100 million, alleging it conspired in his detention and then abandoned him and his family as he wasted away in horrific prison conditions for a crime he didn’t commit. Tomeu Vadell was one of six executives who worked for Houston-based Citgo when they were lured to Venezuela right before Thanksgiving in 2017 to attend a meeting at the headquarters of the company’s parent, the Venezuelan-run-oil giant known as PDVSA.

** High export demand for LNG and higher domestic natural gas consumption pushed U.S. gas demand to higher levels than supply last year, resulting in the highest average Henry Hub spot price since 2008, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said in its 2022 State of the Markets report.

** The full weight of rising gasoline, food and other costs hitting U.S. households has left approval of President Joe Biden nearing the lowest point of his presidency. A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research put his rating at 38%.

** U.S. motorists face a repeat of last summer’s high gasoline prices, analysts warned on Wednesday, with fuel stockpiles heading towards multi-year lows ahead of the peak summer driving season that begins in two months. Retail gasoline prices, now averaging $3.44 a gallon nationwide, hit a record $5.02 a gallon last June as crude oil prices jumped on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the waning of COVID-19 travel curbs unleashed pent up travel demand.

** Utility regulators in Nevada gave the state’s largest power provider clearance to start work on a $333 million project to build a natural gas plant in the state for the first time in nearly 15 years, signaling yet another consequence of the extreme drought conditions in the southwestern U.S.

** Norfolk Southern Railway CEO Alan Shaw said Wednesday that he supports certain aspects of a bipartisan railroad safety bill introduced after a train operated by the company crashed in East Palestine, Ohio, but declined to endorse the bill as a whole.


** The Solomon Islands has awarded a multi-million-dollar contract to a Chinese state company to upgrade an international port in Honiara in a project funded by the Asian Development Bank, an official of the island nation said on Wednesday.

** Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro appointed a new petroleum minister on Tuesday after the department’s powerful former boss resigned over an anti-corruption crackdown that has seen several high-ranking officials arrested.