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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: July 25, 2006 7:36 p.m.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
July 25, 2006 7:36 p.m.

Oil futures tumbled below $74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, partly due to profit-taking after oil’s recent rally and partly due to bets that violence in the Middle East will not crimp oil production there. Here is Tuesday’s roundup of energy-related news:

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BP’S BIG PROFIT: BP PLC reported a 30% gain in second-quarter profit to a record $7.3 billion, thanks to high oil and natural-gas prices and higher refining margins. BP CEO John Browne said he would stay on until the end of 2008 and denied speculation that he and Peter Sutherland, BP nonexecutive chairman, had clashed about the timing of his retirement. The company also unveiled a number of measures to shore up confidence in its U.S. operations, which have been hobbled by a series of safety and compliance problems.

YUKOS SLIDES TOWARD BANKRUPTCY: Creditors of OAO Yukos voted to ask a court to declare the oil company bankrupt and to appoint a supervisor to liquidate its assets after creditors rejected the oil company’s proposed recovery plan and a bankruptcy supervisor said Yukos can’t pay its debts in time.

•Feeling the Heat: Summer is in full swing and average gasoline prices nationwide are right at $3 a gallon, according to AAA, up from around $2.30 in the spring and fast approaching last year’s high of $3.06 shortly after the hurricanes. From Albuquerque, N.M., to Cary, N.C., drivers already are shelling out more than the average. In California, New York and D.C., average prices have topped $3. Here are anecdotes from the local filling stations.

•Blackout Continues: Nine days into a power outage that still has hundreds of homes and businesses without air conditioning, New York City utility officials said they still couldn’t say when service would be restored to everyone.

•Heat Wave Continues, Too: The death toll from a 100-plus-degree U.S. heat wave continued rising as utilities renewed their pleas for energy conservation to avoid rolling blackouts.

•Cross Winds: Two Senate Democrats said they won’t allow a vote on President Bush’s choice for assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs until the FAA decides whether wind farms under construction in the Midwest will interfere with radar systems, particularly those serving the military, Washington Wire reports.

•Texas Tops in Wind: Texas has passed California in wind-power generation, according to a midyear report by the American Wind Energy Association.

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