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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: October 19, 2006 5:30 p.m.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
October 19, 2006 5:30 p.m.

Crude-oil futures jumped after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister backed OPEC production cuts, with the front-month November contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rallying 85 cents to settle at $58.50 a barrel. Here is Thursday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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SAUDI BACKS OPEC CUTS: Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali Naimi said he firmly backs a plan by OPEC to cut one million barrels a day from current production levels, and pledged to pare output again in December if needed. Mr. Naimi’s remarks put to rest speculation that Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer and exporter, wasn’t enthusiastic about the output cut.

•EU Seeks Consumption Cuts: The European Union laid out plans to cut its energy use to 14% below current levels by 2020, calling on people to switch off or change energy-draining appliances as part of an effort to reduce Europe’s reliance on imported fuel.

•Oil & Natural Gas Profit Tame: India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. said its fiscal-second-quarter net profit rose only marginally, held back by higher fuel subsidies and loss of production at a unit.

•Reliance Profit Better: Indian privately owned oil and petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries Ltd. posted a 9.2% rise in fiscal second-quarter net profit from a year earlier after a rise in petrochemicals margins offset a squeeze on margins in the refining segment.

•Woodside Struggles: Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s biggest oil and gas producer, said it will struggle to achieve its full-year production target, despite posting record third-quarter output.

•China Resources Unloads Trading Unit: China Resources Enterprise Ltd. said it will sell its piped gas and chemical trading unit to its parent for 2.78 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$357.1 million), allowing it to focus on its key consumer business.

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