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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: August 14, 2006 5:03 p.m.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
August 14, 2006 5:03 p.m.

Crude-oil futures tumbled on the New York Mercantile Exchange, ending the day at $73.53 a barrel, as a cease-fire in the Middle East eased concerns of a wider conflict that could disrupt oil supplies. Skirmishes between Israeli troops and Hezbollah limited oil’s fall, however. Here is Monday’s roundup of energy-related news:

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HOSTAGES RELEASED, TAKEN: The kidnappings and sabotage that have dramatically slowed Nigeria’s oil production continued today — but not before militants released five foreign oil workers taken hostage recently. Hours later, another group of foreign oil workers — two Britons, an American and a German — was kidnapped from a nightclub.

•Gas-Price Caps in Ukraine: Ukraine’s oil businesses have agreed to temporarily cap gasoline prices, the energy minister said, after three weeks in which retail prices for both gas and diesel fuel have climbed about 10%. Higher Russian tariffs have combined with rising global oil prices to cause the pain.

•Cleaning Up a Spill I: With the cease fire, Lebanon will soon start to clean up the 10,000 to 15,000 tons of oil spilled into the Mediterranean last month after Israel bombed a power plant.

•Cleaning Up a Spill II: The Philippine Coast Guard is worried that bad weather could make Friday’s spillage of two million liters of bunker fuel off the coast of southern Iloilo City harder to clean up.

•China Shenhua to Diversify: China Shenhua Energy, the country’s biggest coal company, has ambitious plans to diversify into chemicals and fuels — an agenda that could stoke further gains for a stock that has been hot this year.

•Surprise, Surprise: It can hardly be called “news,” but the Associated Press reports that U.S. political candidates from both parties are trying to use high gasoline prices to their advantage this November.

•Wanna Bet?: Paul Higgins, founder of consulting firm Emergent Futures, offers this wager in Australia’s The Age: He’ll bet you $10 that oil will fall to less than $40 a barrel within the next three years.

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