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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil News Roundup: February 12, 2007 4:21 p.m.

Crude-oil futures tumbled more than $2 a barrel Monday as frigid Northeast temperatures started to moderate and as Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said OPEC might not cut output at a meeting next month.

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

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WHITE OIL AND RED OIL IN CHINA: These are the names given to illegal or unregistered oil products smuggled into and out of China every day. Analysts and traders believe they amount to only a tiny part of China’s huge consumption of oil. Still, such contraband sales, combined with a lack of data on domestic oil stock levels, which the Chinese government keeps secret, mean analysts don’t have a clear picture of China’s overall oil use. That can have a clear impact on world oil prices.

•China’s Oil Imports Hit Record: China’s crude imports hit a record monthly high in January, as lower oil prices tempted refiners to stockpile ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday and officials to add to the country’s strategic petroleum reserve.

•China Changes Tune on Warming: Buffeted by a year of deadly typhoons in the south and unusual droughts in the west, China’s leaders are voicing rising concern over how vulnerable the world’s most populous nation is to global warming. China’s leaders have until now mostly blamed the West for a problem they said the country couldn’t afford to tackle.

•A Tax on Big Oil: Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle plans to propose a new tax on oil companies and to keep those companies from passing the cost on to consumers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. (See Corrections and Amplifications below)

•Total on Trial: France’s Total was on trial over whether the sinking of the tanker “Erika,” which caused France’s worst oil spill seven years ago, involved criminal wrongdoing.

•Statoil Profit Surges: Norway’s Statoil reported a 41% increase in net profit for the fourth quarter, due to an increase in oil and gas prices.

•Uranium Deal: SXR Uranium One said it will acquire all the shares outstanding of uranium miner UrAsia Energy Ltd. to create the world’s second-largest uranium company by market capitalization after Cameco Corp., with interests in Australia, South Africa, the U.S., Canada and Kazakhstan

•Farmers to Ranchers: Clam Up: Corn growers are telling livestock folks to put a sock in it when it comes to disparaging national ethanol policy, lest corn futures prices take a dive right before the planting season, Washington Wire reports.

•$30 Oil: A Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. research report suggests oil could soon fall as low as $30 a barrel, the Globe and Mail reports. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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