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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil-News Roundup 18 May 2006

Oil News Roundup

May 18, 2006

Crude-oil prices slid to less than $69 a barrel on Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Here is today's well of news about oil and energy.

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GADHAFI MEETS WITH CHAVEZ: Libyan leader Moammar al-Gadhafi, who has recently strengthened his ties with the U.S. and other Western nations, had a sit-down with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has been busy burning his bridges with the same nations. Both men lead OPEC member nations and the topic of their discussion, according to Mr. Chavez, was how to “maintain oil prices and avoid that they hit the floor again.” That should do little to help his popularity in the U.S. The men met at Mr. Gadhafi's Tripoli house, still damaged from a 1986 U.S. bombing attack. It was Mr. Chavez's fourth visit to Libya. Though both men have had very different relationships with the U.S. of late, they have long admired each other.

Untapped Energy: Arab oil ministers called for more of their oil revenues to be reinvested in exploration in order to realize the full potential of their countries' reserves.

Japan Hikes Reserves: Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to boost national oil reserves about 40% from current levels, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported.

Thai IPO: Next week's initial public offering by Thailand's Rayong Refinery PCL should be well received and will be the biggest, in dollar terms, in Thailand's history.

Plugging Plug-Ins: A group of scientists urged the House Science subcommittee on energy to fund research for plug-in hybrid vehicles, cars that can recharge by simply plugging into an electrical socket.

Alaskan Spill Lingers: Oil spilled in Alaska by the Exxon Valdez in 1989 is still around and hurting wildlife in the area, according to a study by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Texas Goes After “Gas Pills”: Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sued BioPerformance Inc., a Dallas company that makes a “gas pill,” a small ball of chemicals it claims can boost a car's gas mileage by 25%. Mr. Abbott said the company was running an illegal pyramid scheme.

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