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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil News Roundup: December 7, 2006 5:14 p.m.

Crude-oil prices rose, breaking a three-day losing streak, after a tanker-tracker report showed OPEC cut more production than previously estimated. Crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 30 cents to $62.49. Gasoline was also higher, but heating oil and natural gas fell. Here is Thursday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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ROYALTY LOOPHOLE: House Democrats urged Congress to punish oil firms that refuse to renegotiate faulty government drilling leases that enable the companies to escape paying billions in oil and gas royalties. The lawmakers are pushing to prohibit oil firms from obtaining leases in new offshore areas new terms are reached on exploration contracts signed in 1998 and 1999.

• Smugglers Killed: Eight smugglers in Iraq burned to death when a fire broke out on an oil pipeline as they were stealing from it, said a police officer from Iraq’s northern oil city of Kirkuk.

• Alaskan Pipeline: Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin expressed optimism over talks with oil firms over the proposed Alaska Gas Pipeline. The state wants to bring its North Slope gas reserves to market, with a pipeline from Alaska to the U.S. seen as a way of lessening dependence on foreign energy and providing royalties to Alaska.

• Attack in Nigeria: Gunmen attacked a southern Nigerian oil installation belonging to a subsidiary of Italy’s Eni SpA early Thursday, killing one person and taking three Italians hostage, officials said.

• Chavez Delivers Oil: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a harsh critic of President Bush, brought a program deliver discounted heating oil to Baltimore, where 15,000 homes are expected to receive his aid.

• Lawyers Wanted: International oil companies are looking to lawyers to fight their battles against a growing trend of resource nationalism as high prices and the lack of other opportunities raise the stakes.

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