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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil-News Roundup: 16 May 2006

Oil News Roundup

May 16, 2006

Crude-oil prices tumbled nearly 4% Monday to less than $70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, partly due to worries that a stronger yuan will slow China's runaway growth and oil consumption. Here is today's well of news about oil and energy.

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PUTTING OFF THE BIG THREE: For the moment, energy concerns have taken a back seat to immigration concerns at the White House, Washington Wire reports; President Bush delayed a meeting with the Big Three auto makers until June 2 to give him time to push his immigration plan this week. Executives from General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler want to ask Mr. Bush for government help in making cars that run on ethanol and other biofuels. They still plan to take their case to Capitol Hill this week.

Gas Prices Still Rise: The average U.S. retail price of gasoline rose four cents last week to $2.95 a gallon, the Energy Information Administration said — up 78.4 cents from a year ago.

Rosneft's Reserves: Russian state oil company OAO Rosneft said its proven reserves of oil and natural gas rose 18% last year to 18.94 billion barrels of oil equivalent, giving it Russia's third-largest pool of reserves, after those of OAO Gazprom and OAO Lukoil. Exxon Mobil's reserves — measured under stricter standards — are the biggest in the world, but the Russian trio is close on its heels.

The Nationalism Paradigm: Royal Dutch Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer told the Financial Times that the burgeoning nationalism of Venezuela, Bolivia, Russia and other oil-rich nations is an unavoidable “new reality” (subscription to required).

International Relations: The U.S. announced it will restore full diplomatic relations with Libya, clearing the way for broader economic ties with the oil exporter. The State Department later announced it would crack down on another oil-producing nation, banning arms sales to Venezuela.

Nascar on Moonshine: Stock-car racing circuit Nascar should switch to ethanol, as GM officials, lawmakers and others have long urged, writes AP sportswriter Chris Jenkins. The move could popularize ethanol consumption, but is not without risks, he writes. “There's only one reason for Nascar to be wary of ethanol: Keeping folks in the infield from trying to chug the leftovers.”

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