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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: July 26, 2006 5:53 p.m.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
July 26, 2006 5:53 p.m.

Crude-oil futures edged higher and closed at nearly $74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after the U.S. Energy Department reported a bigger-than-expected rise in gasoline inventories last week. Here is Wednesday’s roundup of energy-related news:

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CONOCOPHILLIPS PROFIT BOOMS: ConocoPhillips said its second-quarter profit surged 65% from a year ago, bolstered by continued high oil prices, big refining margins, and the recent acquisition of Burlington Resources, a top natural-gas producer. The Houston energy giant is the first of the top three U.S. oil and gas companies to report earnings, and its results foretell another fat quarter for Big Oil, at a time when Americans continue to smart from retail gasoline prices that top $3 a gallon in many places. (See a state-by-state breakdown of U.S. gas prices, and read anecdotes from gas stations.)

•No Relief in Sight: And those prices are likely to stay at more than $3 a gallon for the rest of the summer, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said today.

•Another Nigerian Attack: The outlook for Nigeria’s crude oil output deteriorated further after a flowstation owned by a unit of Eni SpA (E) was attacked overnight, MarketWatch reports.

•Energen Profit Jumps: Energy holding company Energen said its second-quarter profit rose 32% from a year ago.

•Drilling Debate Begins: The Senate appears headed toward passage of a bill opening an 8.3 million acre federal tract in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas exploration.

•Harvest’s Mystery Deal: Harvest Energy Trust agreed to pay $440M for a privately held oil and gas producer in Western Canada, CBC reports. Mysteriously, the seller was not named.

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