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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil News Roundup: February 8, 2007 4:40 p.m.

Crude-oil futures closed at nearly $60, their highest level of the year, as traders staged a late-day, short-covering rally to lift prices by more than 3%, egged on by continued forecasts for cold weather.

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

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ECONOMISTS: TAX FOSSIL FUELS: The government should encourage development of alternatives to fossil fuels, economists said in a WSJ.com survey. But most say the best way to do that is with a new tax on fossil fuels, which isn’t in President Bush’s energy proposals. “Economists generally are in favor of free-market solutions, but there are times when you need to intervene,” said David Wyss at Standard & Poor’s Corp. “We’re already in the danger zone” because of the outlook for oil supplies and concerns about climate change, he said.

•New York to Sue Oil Companies: New York’s attorney general told Exxon Mobil, Chevron and BP that he intends to sue them for taking decades to clean up a giant, underground pond of petroleum left by the refineries that once lined Brooklyn’s waterfront.

•Female Hostage in Nigeria: Gunmen seized a female French oil worker in Nigeria’s restive southern petroleum-producing region, the latest victim in a spate of hostage takings. She is the first known female taken captive in an upsurge of violence roiling Africa’s oil giant.

•Oil-Sands Deal: Colt Engineering, a private Canadian company focused on oil-sands exploration, is selling itself for $1 billion to Australia’s WorleyParsons, the Globe and Mail reports.

•Pelosi Rethinks Nuclear Power: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has had a change of view on nuclear power, Washington Wire reports.

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