More energy reads

** A freight train derailed in a fiery crash near a small town in Minnesota early Thursday, forcing residents to evacuate as a precaution, officials said. The incident was reported at around 1 a.m. CT. Multiple tankers of a train operated by BNSF Railway derailed and caught fire on the western edge of Raymond, a town in Minnesota’s southwestern Kandiyohi County that has a population of less than 800.

** The Senate on Wednesday passed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would overturn the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States rule. The resolution passed the chamber in a 53-43 vote. Four Democrats — along with Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), who caucuses with Democrats — voted with Republicans in favor of the repeal.

** A U.S. government auction of oil and gas drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico generated $263.8 million in high bids, the most of any sale in the region for years and the first test of demand for investment since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) offered 73.4 million acres in the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Gulf. Bids were read at a livestreamed event on Wednesday morning, with Chevron Corp, ExxonMobil Corp and BP Plc among the top buyers.

** Senate Energy Committee Chair Joe Manchin said on Wednesday he may go to court after the U.S. Treasury releases guidance later this week on battery sourcing guidance for electric vehicle tax credits.

** Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday pushed back against a GOP congressman who voiced skepticism about the threat of climate change, suggesting the issue was being used by the Biden administration to secure funding and was not a serious concern.

** A federal judge has ordered the U.S. government to resume regular oil and gas lease sales on federal lands in North Dakota, even as a legal battle continues over the Biden administration’s suspension of the leasing program two years ago in an effort to combat climate change.

** Norfolk Southern has agreed to exclusively use Ohio-based businesses to clean up the site of a fiery train derailment last month in a small town near the Pennsylvania state line. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost made the announcement Wednesday. Yost said he thought it a good idea that the railroad hire statewide businesses to do the work, which could take two years to complete.


** The former general counsel for Venezuela’s state-owned oil company pleaded guilty in Miami federal court on money laundering charges Wednesday in connection to a conspiracy to siphon at least $550 million from state coffers through corrupt currency deals.

** The European Union must be prepared to develop measures to protect trade and investment that China might exploit for its own security and military purposes, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned on Thursday.

** Australia is at risk of losing its head start in critical minerals processing because it has not yet laid down a national strategy, even as other governments are splashing out incentives to grab market share and bolster security. Supplier of nearly half of the world’s lithium, Australia is also the world’s third-largest cobalt exporter and a significant producer of rare earths, copper, graphite, manganese and other minerals key to the global energy transition.

** One of the biggest oil producers in Iraqi Kurdistan has started to lower output as a dispute between the region’s government and Baghdad drags on. Norway’s DNO ASA has started an “orderly shutdown of its operated oil fields” in Kurdistan, it said on Wednesday. It’s been diverting flows into storage since Saturday, but space is now running out.