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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: November 7, 2006 4:08 p.m.


Crude-oil futures tumbled more than $1 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, settling at less than $59, after Kuwait’s oil minister said the market is balanced and that there will not necessarily be output cuts at OPEC’s December meeting. Here’s Tuesday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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OIL-INDUSTRY INVESTMENT FLAT: The world oil industry has barely increased its investment in oil and natural-gas production during the past five years after accounting for inflation, according to a new study by the International Energy Agency, suggesting global energy prices are likely to face upward pressure in the years ahead. The news comes at a time when big oil companies are under political pressure to spend their record profits on investments to boost production — pressure that could intensify if Democrats take over Congress in today’s election.

CHINA URGED TO CURB EMISSIONS: China could shave billions of dollars off its oil-imports bill by cracking down on gasoline-guzzling cars and ramping up output of green energy, among other policy moves, the IEA said. Threats to the environment also will worsen as China overtakes the U.S. to become the largest emitter of carbon dioxide by 2010, the IEA said. This is especially troubling to some environmental watchdogs because China and other developing nations are not subject to the Kyoto Protocol, the New York Times reports.

•TXU Betting Big on Coal: Texas utility TXU is rushing to build thousands of megawatts of new coal-fired electricity-production capacity, the New York Times reports. The project is an outrage to environmentalists who warn the coal it burns — to provide electricity to frequently air-conditioned Texas homes with 11-foot ceilings — will belch tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for years to come.

•Possible Gas Shortage in Russia: Russia faces the grim possibility of suffering through a cold winter with a shortage of natural gas, the Financial Times reports. The news is sure to inspire some Schadenfreude in the Ukraine and other Russian gas customers recently squeezed for higher prices.

•Citgo Wins Millions in Suit: A jury awarded $387.4 million to Citgo Petroleum in a civil lawsuit stemming from a 2001 fire at a suburban Chicago refinery.

•Marathon Approves Refinery Expansion: Marathon Oil announced its board of directors had approved a $3.2 billion project to expand its Garyville, La., refinery, which would create the fourth-largest refinery in the country when the plan is completed.

•Hostages Freed in Nigeria: Militants released an American and a Briton kidnapped from a ship mapping petroleum deposits off Nigeria’s oil-rich southern coast. But armed youths who invaded a Nigerian facility belonging to Agip, a unit of Eni, said they won’t quit the facility until their demands are met.

•Warming Threatens Ruins: From ancient ruins in Thailand to a 12th-century settlement off Africa’s eastern coast, prized sites around the world have withstood centuries of wars, looting and natural disasters. But experts say they might not survive a more recent menace: a swiftly warming planet. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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