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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: August 3, 2006 8:52 p.m.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE

Oil futures fell slightly on the New York Mercantile Exchange as Tropical Storm Chris weakened, easing worries that oil production in the Gulf of Mexico would be disrupted. Here is Thursday’s roundup of energy-related news:

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MOTHERROCK FALLS: One of the biggest New York hedge funds trading natural-gas futures, MotherRock L.P., is shutting down after suffering big losses in the natural-gas market in June and July. MotherRock, which at its peak in May managed about $430 million in assets, lost $230 million in June and July because of investor redemptions and movements in the natural-gas market. In 2005, MotherRock recorded net gains of 20%.

•Questioning a Windfall: Two Republican congressmen said someone at the Interior Department may have deliberately removed provisions from offshore drilling contracts issued in 1998-99, giving oil companies a multibillion-dollar windfall.

•Total Profits: France’s Total SA reported a 16% jump in net profit for the second quarter, as a 35% rise in oil prices offset a sharp decline in production due to disruptions.

•E.On Shuts Reactors: The Swedish subsidiary of German power company E.On AG said it will shut down two of its nuclear reactors in the Swedish city of Oskarshamn because safety at the plants can’t be guaranteed.

•Nigerian Kidnapping: Militants disguised as soldiers took a German oil industry worker hostage in Nigeria’s oil-rich delta region, spiriting him away on a boat. Kidnappings and other attacks have severely disrupted Nigeria’s oil production in recent months.

•Goofing on Gore: A YouTube spoof of Al Gore, in which the former Vice President blames global warming for Lindsay Lohan’s waist size and other silly ills, was created by someone using a computer registered to a Washington lobbying firm whose clients include Exxon Mobil, Washington Wire reports.

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