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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil-News Roundup 12 May 2006: BOILING OVER IN BOLIVIA: MORE NIGERIAN VIOLENCE

Oil-News Roundup

The WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
May 12, 2006

Crude-oil prices rose again, crossing $73 a barrel, on continuing geopolitical tensions and supply concerns. Here is today's well of news about oil and energy.

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BOILING OVER IN BOLIVIA: Bolivian President Evo Morales warned that oil companies whose assets were seized in a nationalization earlier this month might not be compensated for their loss, just hours after telling Brazil that he would consider such compensation. Mr. Morales also said nationalization might widen to include agricultural estates, Bloomberg reports. He also accused Brazil's Petrobras of operating illegally in Bolivia, Dow Jones reports. The company, in a written response tonight, called the charge “surprising” and described itself as “indignant.”

MORE NIGERIAN VIOLENCE: A day after a foreign employee of Houston oil-services company Baker Hughes was shot and killed in the southern city of Port Harcourt, Nigerian militants kidnapped three foreign oil workers from a bus in the same city. Two were employees of Saipem SpA, which is controlled by Italian oil-and-gas firm Eni SpA. One was Italian and one was Indian, Saipem said. The third kidnapped worker was a contractor for another, unnamed oil company. The best-known militant group in the region, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, said it wasn't responsible for the kidnappings or Wednesday's killing. Militant attacks in Nigeria in recent months have shut down about a fifth of the country's total daily production, putting upward pressure on global crude prices.

Hot IPO: Shares of India's Reliance Petroleum Ltd., the refining arm of petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries Ltd., surged more than 42% in their market debut.

Ford Considers Plug-In: Ford Motor CEO Bill Ford, under attack by shareholders at the struggling auto maker's annual meeting, said Ford was working on a plug-in hybrid car, but wasn't yet ready to announce a new product. If and when it does, it will be the first auto maker to produce a plug-in hybrid.

Tax Cuts: Though some economists say higher gasoline taxes might curb demand and prices, some states are considering trimming or suspending gas taxes, the Associated Press reports.

Oil Search: South Korea and Azerbaijan agreed to conduct a joint petroleum development project in the Caspian Sea.

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