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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: October 25, 2006 4:30 p.m.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
October 25, 2006 4:30 p.m.

Crude-oil futures surged above $61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, their highest close since Oct. 9, after the Department of Energy said U.S. crude stockpiles unexpectedly fell and gasoline demand rose amid falling pump prices. Here’s Wednesday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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RUSSIA EXTENDS SAKHALIN PROBE: Russia extended by a month an environmental audit at a troubled multibillion-dollar energy project led by Royal Dutch Shell. A monthlong inspection of the project uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to the local environment, the head of the local state environmental watchdog told Mr. Trutnev. Analysts have suggested the Kremlin is seeking to secure better terms for state natural-gas monopoly OAO Gazprom to enter the project and reshape the deal with Shell.

•Nigerians Villagers Sieze Shell Platforms: In another blow to Shell, angry villagers seized three Shell oil platforms in the volatile Niger Delta, forcing production to be shut down at each.

•ConocoPhillips Profits Edge Higher: ConocoPhillips posted a 2% rise in third-quarter profit on increased production and slightly higher sales. Earnings per share fell short of Wall Street forecasts, but the oil major’s shares rose anyway.

•Hess Profit Jumps: Hess said its third-quarter net income rose 9% from a year ago, supported by better production figures and crude-oil prices.

•FPL, Constellation Call Off Merger: FPL Group and Constellation Energy Group called off their $12.5 billion merger, as state regulators’ concerns about rising power prices scuttled another major utility deal.

•Planning a Kansas Pipeline: Property owners in 10 Kansas counties could be approached next year by Canadian energy firm TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, which is looking to build more than 2,000 miles of crude-oil pipeline in the U.S.

•China Studies Storing Carbon: China is taking a hard look at carbon sequestration, which involves capturing greenhouse gases and storing them underground.

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