Energy briefs

** Exxon Mobil Corp on Friday missed analysts’ estimates with a 28% year-on-year drop in first quarter profits as weaker refining margins and lower natural gas prices offset volume gains. The largest U.S. oil company, which is in the process of closing a $60 billion deal for top shale oil producer Pioneer Natural Resources, posted first-quarter earnings of $8.22 billion, or $2.06 per share, compared to an $11.43 billion net profit a year ago.

** The first cargo ship passed through a newly opened deep-water channel in Baltimore after being stuck in the harbor since the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed four weeks ago, halting most maritime traffic through the city’s port.

** Duke Energy, one of the nation’s largest energy providers, is warning that the Biden administration’s newly finalized power plant regulations will threaten the reliability and affordability of power supplies. The North Carolina-based company warned that the regulations could further present challenges given the growing electricity demand nationwide.

** Fossil fuel use will be banned in new federal buildings starting in 2030 under a Biden administration rule that the natural gas industry fought for more than a decade.

** Southwest Airlines will limit hiring and stop flying to four airports as it copes with weak financial results and delays in getting new planes from Boeing. Southwest said it lost $231 million. The Dallas-based carrier said it expects to end this year with 2,000 fewer employees than it had at the start of the year.

** Gov. Gavin Newsom said that California continued to rapidly add the battery storage that is crucial to the transition to cleaner energy, but admitted it was still not enough to avoid blackouts during heat waves.

** Ford’s electric vehicle unit reported that losses soared in the first quarter to $1.3 billion, or $132,000 for each of the 10,000 vehicles it sold in the first three months of the year, helping to drag down earnings for the company overall.


** All but one of the 100 cities with the world’s worst air pollution last year were in Asia, according to a new report, with the climate crisis playing a pivotal role in bad air quality that is risking the health of billions of people worldwide. The vast majority of these cities — 83 — were in India and all exceeded the World Health Organization’s air quality guidelines by more than 10 times, according to the report by IQAir, which tracks air quality worldwide.

** Ukraine launched a new wave of long-range drone strikes on oil depots in Russia this week as part of a campaign targeting the Kremlin’s critical infrastructure. Drones sent by Ukraine‘s security service hit two Rosneft-owned oil depots in Russia’s Smolensk region, multiple outlets reported, citing a Ukrainian intelligence source.

** A Chinese container ship remains the focus of an investigation into what caused the damage last year to a Baltic Sea gas pipeline between NATO members Finland and Estonia, Finnish authorities said.

** Ship traffic through the Suez Canal plunged by two thirds at the start of the month, according to new data which shines a light on the impact of disruption in the Red Sea on global trade amid heightened geopolitical tensions. Ships crossing through the waterway dropped by 66% in the first week of April, compared with the same period last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.