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WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE: Oil News Roundup: January 25, 2007 4:57 p.m.

Crude-oil futures fell 2% to nearly $54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday after a widely watched tanker tracker said OPEC is set to increase output in February, when the cartel is actually due to implement further cuts.

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

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RUSSIA, INDIA STRENGTHEN TIES: Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to build four new nuclear reactors for energy-starved India, as the old Cold War allies sought to reinvigorate their friendship in a new age through energy and military cooperation. Mr. Putin, on a visit during which he was to be the guest of honor at India’s Republic Day celebrations, met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and the two signed a series of deals on energy, scientific and space cooperation.

•California Bans Dirty Power Sources: California regulators approved rules banning power companies from buying electricity from high-polluting sources, including most out-of-state coal-burning plants.

•Occidental Profit Falls: Despite higher oil and gas production, Occidental Petroleum saw its fourth-quarter profit drop 19% because of lower natural gas prices and higher operating expenses.

•Spill Cleanup Begins: Wildlife workers combed a 100-mile stretch of beach, trying to rescue birds covered in oil after thousands of gallons leaked from a stricken cargo ship off England’s southwest coast.

•More Kidnappings in Nigeria: Gunmen stormed the local offices of a major Chinese oil company in southern Nigeria, abducting seven Chinese employees and stealing a large amount of cash, police said.

•Tortilla Terror: In Mexico, gains in tortilla prices, the ripple effect of ethanol-driven demand for corn, have analysts and consumers biting their nails about rising inflation,’s MarketBeat blog reports.

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