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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: October 20, 2006 4:43 p.m.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
October 20, 2006 4:43 p.m.

Crude-oil futures tumbled nearly $2 a barrel, settling at less than $57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, despite OPEC’s bigger-than-expected promise of a production cut, raising doubts about the cartel’s ability to influence prices. Here is Friday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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PUSHING PUTIN: European Union leaders said they would push Russian President Vladimir Putin to commit to a new, legally binding energy partnership that would ensure supplies of oil and gas for Europe. After a one-day summit to forge a united front, the 25 EU leaders sat down to a potentially tense working dinner with Mr. Putin, eager to secure oil and gas from resource-rich Russia but concerned about its reliability as a source.

•EU to Get Climate Warning: At an EU summit in Finland today, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende were expected to urge EU leaders to work to reduce carbon emissions, the Financial Times reports.

•Over-Optimistic Iraq Numbers: The Iraqi oil minister’s recent, surprisingly high estimate of daily production in that country is best consumed with a dose of salt, a UPI analysis suggests.

•Explosion in Tunisia: An explosion of unknown origin damaged an oil pipeline in the Tunisian city of Bizerte, causing a huge fire and prompting residents in at least one district to flee, Reuters reports.

•Brawl in Kazakhstan: Some 140 people were injured in a mass brawl between Kazakh and Turkish workers at an oil-production facility in western Kazakhstan, Reuters reports.

•Busy in Alaska: Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski created a rural energy adviser post, signed over $183 million to help rural Alaskans pay their electricity bills and criticized Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s fuel program for the state’s villages. Mr. Murkowski lost a bid for reelection in an August primary and leaves office in December.

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