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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE: Oil News Roundup: January 5, 2007 5:22 p.m.

Crude-oil futures mounted a late rally and ended above $56 a barrel Friday after dipping below $55, partially reversing the worst two-day selloff since December 2004.

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

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PUSH FOR PERMANENT DRILLING BAN: Opponents of oil drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge are going on offense after playing defense for a quarter of a century. They want the new Democratic Congress to make an oft-challenged drilling ban permanent. Legislation introduced in the House would make the oil-rich 1.2 million-acre coastal strip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a permanently protected wilderness and end repeated efforts to open the area east of the Prudhoe oil field to energy companies.

•Oil’s Slide a Boon to Drivers: U.S. drivers could start seeing lower prices at the pump as early as this weekend, thanks to the cascading price of crude oil and a seasonal dip in gasoline, the Associated Press reports.

•Enel to Build Wind Farms: Enel, Italy’s largest utility, said it will build two wind farms in the United States and Canada with a combined capacity of 277 megawatts as part of a $5.2 billion investment in renewable energy.

•Brussels to Continue Energy Crackdown: European Commission competition commissioner Neelie Kroes plans to intensify her crackdown on Europe’s energy sector, alleging collusion and other misdeeds, the Financial Times reports (subscription required).

•Belarus Talks Possible: Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky plans to hold talks in Moscow next week to defuse a dispute with Russia over oil supplies and transit of the commodity across Belarus.

•Pipeline Leak Energizes Foes: A pipeline rupture that leaked thousands of gallons of crude oil across a frozen field caused little environmental damage, yet it re-energized a group that already has gone to court trying to block a new pipeline planned for the same route through Wisconsin.

•Worries About Corn: A boom in ethanol production facilities is raising worries that there won’t be enough corn left in the U.S. for eating, the New York Times reports.

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