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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil News Roundup: February 7, 2007 4:14 p.m.

Crude-oil prices pulled back from another shot at $60 and ended sharply lower Wednesday as weekly inventory data came in short of traders’ most optimistic expectations.

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

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•El Paso Settles Oil-for-Food Charges: El Paso will pay $7.7 million to settle civil and criminal charges that it indirectly paid $5.5 million in illegal surcharges to Iraq through purchases of crude oil from outside parties under the United Nations’ oil-for-food program.

•China Blames the West: China, under pressure to clean up its carbon emissions, blamed developed nations in the West (likely including one whose initials are U.S.A.) for global warming, even as new data showed the developing nation’s insatiable appetite for energy, the Financial Times reports.

•CAO Scandal: A top official at jet-fuel supplier China Aviation Oil Holding has been ordered to resign over his involvement in a trading scandal, state media report.

•Three-Way Pipeline Deal Set: Bulgaria, Greece and Russia signed an agreement finalizing the details for the construction of a long-awaited oil pipeline that will funnel Russian oil directly to southeastern Europe — bypassing Turkey’s busy Bosporus Straits

•Great Plains to Buy Aquila: Aquila agreed to be acquired by Great Plains Energy in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $1.7 billion, while it separately agreed to sell certain of its assets to Black Hills for $940 million.

•Obasanjo Shuns Oil Workers: Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo blew off a scheduled meeting with oil workers’ unions already angry about the deteriorating security situation in the oil-rich region, reports.

•Close Encounter in Nigeria: CNN Africa’s Jeff Koinange reports on his close encounter with Nigerian militants.

•Vietnamese Cleanup Continues: About 250 tons of oil have been cleaned from Vietnamese beaches, but the source of the recent spill is still a mystery, Viet Nam News reports.

•Can’t Get Over the Hump: MarketBeat breaks down the possible implications of oil’s repeated failure to crack the $60 threshold. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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