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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: November 17, 2006 5:13 p.m.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE

Crude oil was pressured by an upcoming expiration of the front-month contract and rumors of troubles at a large hedge fund. Crude-oil futures fell 45 cents to $55.81, the lowest closing price for oil since June 15, 2005. Here is Friday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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RUSSIAN OIL COMPANY SEEKS TALKS ON IRAQ FIELD: The head of Russian’s largest oil producer said Friday that he will travel to Iraq early next year in a bid to revive a Saddam Hussein-era contract to develop a major oil field, the Interfax news agency reported.

•US Oil Industry Capex Growth to Slow in 2007: Weighed down by moderating commodity prices, the galloping growth in the U.S. oil and gas sector’s capital spending is poised to slow down next year, analysts said.

•China’s Africa Oil Power Bugs Western Rivals: China’s fast-expanding role as a partner for oil-rich African nations is rattling many Western companies, which are fearful of losing out and irked by the financial power their competitor offers.

•Vietnam to Up Spending on Oil and Gas Exploration: Vietnam Oil & Gas Corp (PetroVietnam) may spend $6 billion on oil and gas exploration through 2010 as demand for energy grows in the expanding economy.

•Russian Government to Lower Export Duties: Export duty on crude oil will be lowered from $237.6 to $180.7 per metric ton starting from Dec. 1, 2006, the Russian government’s press service said Friday. The government sets the oil export duty rate once every two months, after monitoring the Urals price on world markets.

•Kazakhstan Intends to Block Chinese Oil Asset Purchase: Kazakhstan intends to block the purchase of a Canadian company’s assets by the Chinese government conglomerate CITIC Group, the former Soviet republic’s oil minister said Friday.

•Frontier Oil Sets $100M Buyback Plan: Frontier Oil Corp. said Friday its board approved a new $100 million stock repurchase plan. Frontier recently completed a $100 million buyback program authorized in Nov. of 2005, repurchasing about 3.9 million shares under that plan.

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