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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: November 15, 2006 4:53 p.m.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
November 15, 2006 4:53 p.m.

Crude-oil futures rose, halting a three-day slide, after the Department of Energy reported much larger-than-expected weekly declines in U.S. petroleum-products stocks. The front-month December light, sweet crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 48 cents to $58.76 a barrel. Year-to-date, crude oil is down 2.8%. Here is Wednesday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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OPEC BOOSTS DEMAND ESTIMATES: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has increased its forecasts for world oil demand this year and said that its recent production cut had succeeded in stabilizing prices. OPEC said in its monthly report that demand for oil in 2006 is expected to average 84.3 million barrels per day, an upward revision of 100,000 barrels per day from the previous forecast.

•Oil Below $50 By 2009?: Middle East benchmark crude oil prices may drop below $50 a barrel after 2009 as Saudi Arabia and other nations boost output to supply expanded refining capacity, Nippon Oil Corp. said. A possible slowdown in demand growth led by China may contribute to lower Oman and Dubai oil prices within four years, Naoaki Tsuchiya, general manager of the overseas business division at Nippon Oil, said.

•ENI Extends Gas-Supply Deals With Gazprom: Italy’s ENI agreed to lock in three decades of gas supply from OAO Gazprom, giving the Russian company greater market access to Western Europe. It shows that Western Europe’s reliance on Moscow for energy is rising, even as the region grows increasingly anxious about this dependence. The deal, announced yesterday, prolongs contracts due to expire as early as 2017 until 2035.

•IOC Starts Trading Derivatives: State-run Indian Oil Corp. plans to gradually step up its trading of crude-oil derivatives on the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange after starting earlier this week, a company official said.

•China Aviation Oil, Goldman Settle Lawsuit: Singapore-based China Aviation Oil said it and Goldman Sachs unit J. Aron have agreed to settle lawsuits filed springing from a 2004 financial scandal that almost bankrupted CAO.

•Tehran Confirms Oil Strike in Farsi Block: A senior oil-company official in Iran confirmed that India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd. had struck oil in Iran’s Farsi block, the oil ministry’s official Web site reported.

•Oil-Deaths Inquiry: An inquiry into an explosion at a Calgary oil recycling plant led to a recommendation that refineries not modify used equipment without approval.

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