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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil News Roundup: February 5, 2007 4:13 p.m.

Crude-oil futures ended a bit lower Monday after rallying to within five cents of $60 on forecasts of continued cold weather.

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

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CONOCO IN DISPUTE WITH CNOOC: ConocoPhillips has asked for arbitration in a dispute with Cnooc over costs incurred because of Beijing’s windfall tax on oil sales, according to people familiar with the situation. The move and its outcome will be closely watched by other foreign energy companies whose production contracts with China’s largest offshore oil producer state that any new government-imposed rule that causes a material change in their returns can be challenged outside China.

ENERGY IN BUSH BUDGET: The Bush administration’s fiscal-year 2008 budget proposal would provide the Department of Energy $24.3 billion, which includes substantial funding for biofuel, clean coal, renewable energy and nuclear-waste programs. The White House also proposed spending $168 million primarily for administrative costs relating to the expansion of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from its current capacity of 727 million barrels to 1.5 billion barrels by 2027.

•More Pressure on Yukos Founder: Prosecutors filed new money-laundering and embezzlement charges against jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner, opening a new front in Russian authorities’ campaign against the nation’s one-time richest man.

•Belarus to Raise Transit Fees: Belarus will sharply raise transit fees for Russian oil this month, the government said, announcing what appeared to be an effort to compensate for potential profits lost during recent disputes with Moscow over energy prices and supplies.

•Total Going Nuclear: French oil giant Total plans to branch out into nuclear power, the Financial Times reports.

•Philippines Power-Grid Auction Fails Again: The Philippine government yesterday again failed in an attempt to auction off a 25-year concession to run the country’s power grids. It was the fourth attempt by the government since 2003 to privatize the concession.

•Vietnamese Spill Still a Mystery: An oil spill off Vietnam has spread along more than 190 miles of coastline and affected popular tourist spots, but the source remains a mystery. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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