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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: October 31, 2006 5:14 p.m.

October 31, 2006 5:14 p.m.

Crude-oil futures stabilized after tumbling to $57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, thanks in part to word of a natural-gas pipeline leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s Tuesday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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•REFINERY EQUIPMENT CALLED DEADLY: Federal investigators examining the deadly March 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery called on the U.S. oil industry to eliminate the type of equipment that caused the explosion. The equipment problems at Texas City weren’t unique to the refinery, the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board said, and require further attention from federal regulators and the industry.

•U.S. Drops Push for Chevron Royalties: The U.S. Interior Department has stopped trying to collect natural-gas-drilling royalties from Chevron, the New York Times reports, ending a dispute with the oil company, but likely setting itself up for more criticism of its treatment of the industry.

•China May Be Using Oil as Weapon…: China cut off oil shipments to North Korea in September, possibly a sign it is putting pressure on its neighbor to stop its nuclear program, the New York Times reports.

•…Or Not: Then again, China’s shipments of gasoline and jet fuel — essential, among other things, for North Korea’s army and air force to keep operating — more than tripled in September.

•Marathon Picks up Pace: Marathon Oil said third-quarter net income increased by more than 50%, as the company capitalized on buoyant commodity prices by pumping and selling more oil

•No Consensus on Climate Control: Though Bush administration attitudes about global warming seem to be changing behind the scenes, developing nations such as China and India are still raising objections to plans to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, the Financial Times reports.

•Dow Chief: Energy Prices Costing Jobs: Even more than high labor costs, runaway energy prices are pushing manufacturing jobs in the chemical industry overseas, Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris said Monday.

•Gas Prices May Be Near Bottom: Hope you enjoyed the recent drop in gasoline prices, because they may have found their floor, says the Associated Press’s Brad Foss.

•Cow Power: As of last Thursday, Green Mountain College in Montpelier, Vt., was getting half of its electricity from farms that run generators powered by methane gas extracted from cow manure. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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