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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: July 24, 2006 8.03pm

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
July 24, 2006 8:03 p.m.

Oil futures topped $75 a barrel Monday, partly on the back of a gasoline rally triggered by refinery snags. Those ranged from an outage at a ConocoPhillips refinery in Illinois to a production problem at Venezuela’s largest refinery, heightening worries about supplies during the peak-demand summer driving season. The White House’s continued opposition to an immediate cease-fire in the nearly two-week-old Israel-Hezbollah conflict added to the bullish sentiment, traders said. Here is Monday’s roundup of energy-related news:

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SORE SUPPLY: A U.S. senator says Bush hasn’t prepared adequately for a possible Venezuelan oil-sale cutoff that would mean a further run-up in crude-oil prices and hurt the U.S. economy, the Associated Press reports. In a letter sent last week to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said the South American country’s “direct supply lines and refining capacity in the United States give Venezuela undue ability to impact U.S. security and our economy.”

•Korean Oil Sands: South Korea is getting into the Canadian oil sands game with a $270 million acquisition of an early-stage project, Reuters reported. Korea National Oil Corp. signed a deal to buy the BlackGold lease in Alberta from major gold producer Newmont Mining Corp. The lease has estimated recoverable reserves of 250 million barrels.

•Oil All Over: In a column on Forbes.com, Leonardo Maugeri says that the world isn’t short on oil, far from it. But “high oil prices are needed to find it.” Mr. Maugeri says that for two decades low oil prices have discouraged exploration.

•Pump Pain: The average price of regular gasoline has reached $3 a barrel and is approaching levels seen just after Hurricane Katrina, Fox News reports.

•Superspike: Bloomberg News’s Stephen Voss points out the growing number of analysts and experts who say $100 a barrel is coming soon.

•On the Floor: In a debate with billions at stake, the Senate is to determine in the next few days whether to allow oil and gas drilling in areas off the coast of Florida, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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