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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: October 3, 2006 7:16 p.m.

October 3, 2006 7:16 p.m.

Crude-oil futures tacked a 4% slide onto Monday’s 3% haircut, settling at less than $59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange for the first time since February. Rising global supplies, slack demand and a mild Atlantic hurricane season have contributed to oil’s steep decline. Here is Tuesday’s roundup of oil and energy news.

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CHEMOIL PULLS IPO: Chemoil Energy Ltd. said its initial public offering of up to $374 million in stock, set to be Singapore’s second-largest share sale this year, has been withdrawn. Chemoil, a U.S.-based marine-fuel supplier half-owned by Itochu Corp. of Japan, said it pulled the IPO “due to considerations relating to valuation.” Some market participants have said the recent fall in oil prices resulted in potential investors demanding a less-expensive valuation.

•Unite Here Fund Sues BP: The retirement fund of Unite Here, a union representing industrial, textile, hotel and restaurant workers, has sued executives and board members of BP for a string of operational disasters the union claims have hurt the U.K. oil giant’s shareholders.

•GDF Privatization a Step Closer: French lawmakers voted to approve legislation to privatize Gaz de France SA, as widely expected — helping to clear the way for the natural-gas company’s state-backed merger with Suez SA.

•Tokyo Out of Inpex Talks: Long-lasting talks between Japan’s Inpex Holdings Inc. and Iran on a project to develop the Azadegan oil field are running out of time, but Tokyo won’t intervene, Japan’s trade minister said.

•Militants Release Some Hostages: Militants who attacked a military convoy escorting oil workers in the restive southern delta region freed nine of the 25 Nigerians taken hostage, even as more violence flared.

•Surviving Without Iranian Oil: The world’s emergency crude reserves could replace Iranian oil exports for 18 months, the Government Accountability Office said.

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Monday’s Roundup:

NEW BIDS IN LIBYA: Libya’s National Oil Corp. has announced that 45 companies and two consortia are qualified to bid in its third licensing round since it reopened to foreign investment, the NOC website said. This is the first bidding round under Libya’s new oil chief and the third for Libya since it reopened to foreign investment after U.S. sanctions were eased in 2004. Decades of sanctions have left Libya’s oil sector vastly underexplored.

•Idemitsu Sets IPO Range: Idemitsu Kosan, one of Japan’s largest refiners by capacity, set a tentative price range of 9,000 yen to 9,500 yen ($76.19 to $80.43) per share for its initial public offering later this month, which is expected to be one of Japan’s biggest this year.

•Violence in Nigeria: Dozens of militants sank two military patrol boats in Nigeria’s oil-rich, southern delta in an attack that killed five soldiers and left nine others missing, an army spokesman said.

•Death in Siberia: The chief engineer for Anglo-Russian oil producer TNK-BP Holding’s unit Rusia Petroleum was found shot dead in Siberia Saturday, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Monday.

•Prudhoe Shortfall: BP is still producing 350,000 barrels a day of crude oil out of its Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska, 50,000 below an earlier forecast.

•Lisburne Field Restored: Still, BP said it had restored 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day of production at its Lisburne oil field near Prudhoe Bay, three days after shutting it down due to a natural gas leak.

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