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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil News Roundup: December 5, 2006 5:01 p.m.

Crude-oil prices finished flat, ending the day at $62.43, while natural gas lost 1.6%, declining for the fourth consecutive day. Here is Tuesday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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ENERGY-POLICY CRITICS: Policies that restrict energy production, combined with rising demand for petroleum products, will maintain upward pressure on oil prices for at least the next year, according to a survey of industry executives. Nearly four out of five executives and managers surveyed last month by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP said U.S. energy policies weren’t headed in the right direction.

• Ecuador Investments: Carlos Pareja, new head of state-owned PetroEcuador, said his country’s legal dispute with Occidental Petroleum isn’t indicative of how the incoming government will work with foreign oil and natural-gas companies. The company says it will seek more than $1 billion in damages after the company’s rights to pump oil from a field in Ecuador’s Amazon region were canceled in May.

• Oil Bill Vote: House Republican leaders canceled a vote today on legislation to open 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling. The bill is expected to re-emerge under regular rules Wednesday or Thursday. Drilling supporters remained optimistic the bill would pass this week, before Congress adjourns, but environmental groups took the cancellation as a sign of weakness.

• Oil Discovery in Mauritania: Dana Petroleum and Hardman Resources have discovered oil in the Aigrette-1 exploration well in Mauritania, the companies said in a statement.

• Reliance Industries Win: New Delhi-based Reliance Industries has won two oil exploration blocks in Yemen, each measuring about 7,500 square kilometers and located near the border with Oman.

• Canadian Firm Releases Resource Estimates: North American Oil Sands Corp. released two independent estimates of its land Tuesday, including one showing a 33% increase in contingent resources.

• Russia Oil Forecast Lowered: Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade has lowered the forecast of oil export from Russia in 2007 by one million tons to 263 million tons, according to the Ministry’s adjusted forecast.

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