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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: September 15, 2006 4:33 p.m.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
September 15, 2006 4:33 p.m.

Crude-oil futures rose for just the second time in the past 10 sessions on the New York Mercantile Exchange, settling at $63.33 a barrel after dropping as low as $62.05 in earlier trading. Here is Friday’s roundup of oil and energy news.

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YEMEN FOILS ATTACKS: Suicide bombers tried to strike two oil facilities in Yemen with explosives-packed cars, but authorities foiled the attacks. Four bombers and a security guard were killed, the Interior Ministry said. The attempts came days before the country’s presidential elections, in which President Ali Abdullah Saleh faces a serious challenge for the first time since he became head of state in 1978. They also came days after al Qaeda’s No. 2 issued a videotaped threat of attacks on Persian Gulf oil facilities.

GM’S HYDROGEN PLANS: General Motors, looking to prove it can once again be a technology leader in the global auto industry, plans to spend heavily over the next few years to develop hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles for sale by 2010, The Wall Street Journal reports. The plans come at a time when GM and Ford are suffering from slumping demand for their gas-chugging SUVs.

•Interior Near Lease Pacts: The U.S. Interior Department is close to cutting deals with two oil producers to recoup money that would have been lost in drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, the New York Times reports (free registration required).

•Chevron Talks China Deal: Chevron is negotiating partnerships with Chinese oil firms, a year after snagging Unocal away from China’s CNOOC, Bloomberg reports.

•Dynegy Deal: Power generator Dynegy agreed to buy closely held power-plant developer LS Power for $2.3 billion in cash and stock, pushing forward the consolidation of the U.S. merchant power business.

•Nigerian Strike Ends: Nigerian oil workers ended a threatened three-day strike early, allowing normal exports from the country to resume.

•Sinopec Nears Iran Deal: China Petrochemical Corp., better known as Sinopec Group, is close to signing a deal to develop an oil field in Iran, the Shanghai Securities News reported.

•Russia Funds Indonesian Refinery: A Russian consortium will finance the construction of a $3 billion new refinery in Indonesia, China’s Xinhua agency reports.

•Stupid Investment: MarketWatch’s Chuck Jaffee calls the U.S. Oil Fund, a pure-play oil ETF, his “Stupid Investment of the Week.” “Clearly, the investors who don’t belong in the fund are the average ones,” he writes, “those still hanging on to a volatile oil play after seeing the market bludgeoned.”

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