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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE: Oil News Roundup: December 15, 2006 5:21 p.m.

Crude-oil futures climbed above $63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, gaining more than 2% for the week, supported by OPEC’s plans to cut production, as well as fresh attacks on Nigeria’s oil industry.

Here is Friday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

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VIOLENCE CONTINUES IN NIGERIA: Armed men who attacked a Royal Dutch Shell oil complex overnight in southern Nigeria fled, taking three hostages and forcing the oil giant to halt 12,000 barrels of production per day. Attacks have become common in the southern river delta of Africa’s largest crude producer, cutting the West African country’s usual daily output of 2.5 million barrels by about a quarter this year
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•Asia’s Pollution Problem: Japan says soot from Chinese power stations is poisoning its lakes. Coal emissions from India and China are polluting the air in Bangladesh. Land-clearing forest fires in Indonesia routinely send a choking haze across Singapore and Malaysia. Asia needs to enact regional pacts to reduce cross-border pollution, several experts at the Better Air Quality Conference 2006 said.

•Imperial Oil Fined: Canada’s Imperial Oil was fined $469,000 Canadian for a gas-station leak that contaminated residential wells in Ontario three years ago.

•North Sea Development Plan: Norway’s two main oil companies, Statoil and Norsk Hydro, presented separate plans for developing new oil and natural gas fields in adjacent areas of the northern North Sea.

•African Oil Stampede: Angola is joining OPEC, African oil exploration is booming and China is investing. The stampede for African oil has continued, even as militant attacks in some countries and precarious governments in others make returns uncertain, the Associated Press reports.

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