Short energy reads

** A new nuclear reactor in the US started up last week — the country’s first in nearly 7 years. Georgia Power expects Vogtle Unit 3 to be fully in service in May or June of this year. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesperson Scott Burnell told CNBC that this marked the first nuclear reactor to achieve initial criticality since May 2016.

** A U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative law judge on Monday ordered Exxon Mobil Corp to make whole 1,800 employees at two refineries for lost earnings during a suspension of employer contributions to a 401K plan in 2020 and 2021.

** U.S. natural gas futures held near a one-week high on Tuesday on forecasts for more cold weather and higher heating demand this week than previously expected, a preliminary drop in daily output and near record amounts of gas flowing to liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants.

** A flood of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects due online worldwide in mid-decade will vie against lower-cost renewable energy and a revived nuclear power sector, which could rock gas prices and hurt some proposed projects, analysts say.

** Industry corporations say mandates from President Biden’s Department of Energy for new washing machine efficiency standards would force manufacturers to reduce cleaning performance to ensure their machines comply. Each cycle will “take longer, the detergent will cost more, and in the end, the clothes will be less clean,” according to manufacturers like Whirlpool.

** Electric vehicle maker Rivian negotiates with Amazon to end their exclusive delivery van deal after Amazon’s 2023 order comes in at the low end of their agreed-upon range.

** Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves considers signing legislation to require electric vehicle companies sell cars through dealerships rather than directly to consumers.

** Oregon lawmakers introduce a bill that would levy a mileage tax on electric vehicle owners.


** Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA on Monday was loading a supertanker with crude and fuel for Cuba, maritime documents showed, an unusually large volume to help its political ally overcome an energy crisis with repeated blackouts.

** The European Union will overhaul its electricity market in a way that encourages the development of more wind and solar installations and discourages more fossil fuel generation. According to a draft of the proposal seen by Reuters, the overhaul will push fixed-price power contracts designed to protect consumers.

** Germany has formed an alliance with Italy and some Eastern European countries opposing the planned phase-out of internal combustion engines from 2035, and they want to make their own proposal. Transport ministers from the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia met on Monday to discuss changes to the European Union’ plans.

**  Australia’s government is mounting a defense of natural gas even as it seeks to accelerate cuts in emissions in one of the world’s biggest fossil fuel exporters. Gas will be increasingly important as the coal-fired power plants that still provide most of the country’s electricity are shut, Energy Minister Chris Bowen said in a speech in Sydney late on Monday.