Short energy reads

** Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced Friday that he would reject yet another Biden nominee, arguing that the administration is pandering to climate radicals. The move came after Manchin sank the nomination of Gigi Sohn to the Federal Communications Commission earlier this week.

** Al Gore has warned it would be “recklessly irresponsible” to allow an enormous, controversial oil drilling project to proceed in Alaska, speaking ahead of a decision from the Biden administration on whether to approve it. Gore spoke amid growing alarm among Democrats and campaigners that the Willow development will drastically undermine the US’s effort to confront the climate crisis.

** A federal judge in Alaska decided in favor of ConocoPhillips in a dispute with state regulators, ruling that the oil company can keep well data from its huge Willow discovery confidential for now.

** India could become a key supplier of electronic parts and hardware for the United States, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Friday, adding that Washington was not seeking a “technological decoupling” from China.

** The cost of the Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion has jumped 44% from last year’s estimate to C$30.9 billion ($22.35 billion), the federal corporation building the project said on Friday. Trans Mountain Corp (TMC) said it is in the process of securing external financing to fund the remaining cost of the project, which is now expected to start shipping oil in the first quarter of 2024.


** China on Friday condemned a Japanese plan to release treated radioactive wastewater from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, demanding that Tokyo first receive the approval of neighboring countries. China has made similar complaints on a regular basis in the past, but has not said how it would respond if Japan goes ahead with the planned release.

**  European energy prices jumped amid concerns about France’s nuclear fleet and disruptions due to widespread strikes, along with a late-winter cold blast in other parts of the region. Benchmark natural gas futures spiked as much as 25%, the biggest intraday increase since September, as prices climbed back above €50 per megawatt-hour. French year-ahead power surged as much as 16%, the most in more than six months.

** Trinidad and Tobago has held substantive talks with Venezuela on developing the promising Dragon offshore gas field following a U.S. authorization to begin the long-stalled project, Energy Minister Stuart Young told Reuters on Thursday.

** Ukraine’s capital had most of its power supply restored Friday, officials said, as the country again responded swiftly and defiantly to the latest Russian missile and drone barrage targeting critical infrastructure.

** Venezuela has awarded a stake in a key oil joint venture to a little-known firm called GazMin International Group almost six months after seizing it from Russian executives, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

** France’s troubled nuclear industry is supposed to be in revival, but the discovery of further defects at some reactors this week is stoking fears that the year ahead could be just as difficult as the last.