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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil News Roundup: November 28, 2006 3:40 p.m.

Crude-oil futures jumped to nearly $61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on forecasts of colder weather and uncertainty ahead of an OPEC meeting. Rising sectarian violence in Iraq, along with weakness in the dollar, added to the bullish sentiment that emerged as traders returned from the four-day Thanksgiving holiday on Monday. Here is Tuesday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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POWERFUL MERGER: Spanish power company Iberdrola said it agreed to acquire Scottish Power in a friendly £11.6 billion bid ($22.48 billion). The board of Scottish Power, the U.K.’s fifth-biggest power company, approved the offer and unanimously recommends its approval by shareholders. The move stands to jump-start the long-awaited consolidation in the European power sector, which has so far been slowed down by politics and legal battles.

•Report: Federal Oil, Gas Restricted: About half the oil and more than a quarter of the natural gas inventoried on 99 million acres of federal land are off limits to drilling because of significant environmental and other restrictions, the government said in a new report the energy industry sought as part of a campaign to win access to it.

•Alaska Move Sets Exxon Scrambling: Exxon Mobil is reviewing its legal options in the wake of Alaska’s decision to strip it and other oil companies of their leases in the North Slope’s Point Thomson oil and gas field. The state said Monday it was revoking the leases after finding Exxon Mobil failed to come up with a viable plan for developing the field’s vast reserves.

•China Nears Deal With Iran: Chinese oil giant Sinopec is close to signing a $100 billion deal with Iran that would provide it with 150,000 barrels of oil a day and 250 million tons of liquefied natural gas over the next 25 years.

•Correa Threatens New Contracts: Rafael Correa, likely to be the next president of Ecuador, said he would renegotiate contracts with foreign oil companies to raise the country’s share of crude-oil volume, Reuters reports.

•Stars of the Show: Automakers will roll into the Los Angeles Auto Show with a new lineup of concept cars powered by alternative fuels. But activists complain the companies are still moving too slowly to curb the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, the Associated Press reports.

•Pickens on Peak Oil: Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens told central Arkansas business leaders Monday that the world has reached peak oil production and the U.S., in particular, needs to find alternative sources of fuel.

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