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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: September 21, 2006 5:01 p.m.

September 21, 2006 5:01 p.m.

Crude-oil futures rebounded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, rising nearly $1 a barrel to settle at more than $61.50. Crude is still 20% below its all-time high close set in mid-July. Here is Thursday’s roundup of oil and energy news.

LOST ROYALTIES: The U.S. Interior Department said it was forgetting about $1.3 billion in royalties lost because of faulty drilling leases and is focusing its talks with oil companies on future production. Acting Assistant Secretary Johnnie Burton said “it would be very hard to recoup” revenue lost from oil already pumped under terms of the 1998-99 leases. The announcement came on the heels of a lawsuit alleging the Interior Department tried to keep auditors from collecting some $30 million in royalties major oil companies owed the government, according to a lawsuit filed by the auditors, the New York Times reports.

•U.S. on Egypt’s Nuclear Program: The U.S. ambassador to Cairo suggested the U.S. could cooperate with Egypt if it decides to develop nuclear energy, Reuters reports.

•Branson to Fight Global Warming: British business mogul Richard Branson said he will invest about $3 billion to combat global warming over the next decade.

•Lebanon Cleanup Begins: Shovel-wielding volunteers sifted through oil-stained sand on a beach where tourists once swam, now emptied by a massive spill caused by Israeli bombardment. Two months later, only 3 percent of the oil has been recovered.

•Another Step in Utility Merger: Gaz de France and Suez submitted proposals to address European Commission objections to the planned €39 billion ($50 billion) merger of the two utility companies

•China Strikes LNG Deal: China National Offshore Oil Corp. has signed a deal to purchase liquefied natural gas from Indonesia’s Tangguh project, signaling a breakthrough in long-running negotiations. This would mark China’s second deal to import liquefied natural gas, or LNG, as the nation tries to develop alternative energy sources to coal and oil.

•Brazil, Bolivia Talks Promised: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva insisted he’s taking a tough line in a major energy dispute with Bolivia, and said he’ll meet with Bolivian leader Evo Morales to try solve the crisis after Brazil’s Oct. 1 presidential elections.

•Price-Plunge Primer: Read a Q&A about the causes and repercussions of oil’s plunge.

•Richer in Alaska: Almost every Alaskan will be $1,106.96 richer this year, thanks to dividend checks from the state’s oil royalty investment program distributed annually to eligible residents just for living here. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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