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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: 6.44pm 20 July 2006

July 20, 2006 6:44 p.m.

Crude-oil futures rose on the New York Mercantile Exchange, settling at about $73 a barrel and ending a three-day slide. Here is Thursday’s roundup of oil and energy news.

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YUKOS BOSS QUITS: The president of OAO Yukos, Steven Theede, announced his resignation just hours ahead of a meeting of creditors, which he predicted would back the liquidation of the company. “There is nothing left for me to do to protect the remaining assets of the company in Russia,” he wrote. Earlier this week, his bid to stop OAO Rosneft’s IPO in London was defeated in court. State-controlled Rosneft is the owner of what was once Yukos’s most-prized asset, which the Russian government pried away from Yukos in a controversial tax case in 2004.

•Strife’s Limited Effect: Israeli strikes in Lebanon have so far had little effect on the world’s oil and financial markets, according to the International Monetary Fund — though many Wall Street observers attributed last week’s plunge in U.S. stocks to worries about Mideast violence.

•China’s Supply, Demand: China is making plans for a new strategic petroleum reserve center, the Xinhua news agency reports. Separately, Xinhua announced China’s oil imports grew more than 17% in the first half of the year.

•Still Guzzling: Businessweek asks why high prices haven’t curbed American appetites for gasoline.

•Refinery Strike: About 200 Teamsters at a Marathon Petroleum Co. refinery in St. Paul, Minn., walked off the job Wednesday afternoon, amid difficult contract negotiations with Marathon, a unit of Marathon Oil.

•Norway Strike: Norway’s oil-services industry and union officials will meet in Oslo Monday for a second round of government-mediated negotiations to end a five-week labor strike.

•Addax Buys Pan-Ocean: Swiss oil compamy Addax Petroleum Corp. agreed to buy Jersey-based Pan-Ocean Energy Corp. for about $1.41 billion, Bloomberg reports. The purchase will help Addax boost its African production.

•Dealing With Strongmen: African strongmen ruling countries with oil riches seem to get better treatment from the West than strongmen ruling countries without oil, Reuters reports.

•Two-Wheeled Relief: Shreveport, La., residents are taking to motorcycles to escape high gas prices, The Shreveport Times reports

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