-- Holiday publishing schedule Because of the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the Oil & Gas Journal Daily Update e-newsletter will not be issued Dec. 21, 2006, through Jan. 1, 2007. E-newsletter distribution will resume Jan. 2, 2007.
-- New Zealand to meet IEA inventory target New Zealand Energy Minister David Parker announced that, effective Jan. 1, 2007, New Zealand would meet its International Energy Agency (IEA) obligation to hold oil stocks representing 90 days of net oil imports.
-- EPA issues final SPCC rule, compliance exemptions The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final rule on oil spill prevention, control, and countermeasures (SPCC) that will provide compliance alternatives for some facilities.
-- MARKET WATCH Energy prices fall as US weather warms Energy prices fell Dec. 18 as traders put more faith in forecasts of warm weather in the US than in the promise of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut crude production.
-- Statoil, Hydro to merge in $30 billion deal The boards of Norway's Statoil ASA and Norsk Hydro ASA have agreed to merge their oil and gas operations in a deal valued at about $30 billion, creating the world's largest offshore operator.
-- Countries sign agreement to boost energy efficiency The US, China, India, Japan, and South Korea agreed on Dec. 15 to work together to boost energy efficiency, to diversify their sources of energy, and to guard against emergencies in the face of rising oil prices.
-- Gastech: LNG development driving changes in gas markets Driven by the rapid development of LNG, gas markets are being transformed from regional into global markets and have been undergoing other major changes, said Total SA Executive Vice-Pres. Yves-Louis Darricarrere at the 2006 Gastech Conference in Abu Dhabi.
-- New group looks to develop energy policy recommendations Energy consumers and producers, including six oil and gas trade associations, have formed what former US Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) termed "a coalition of coalitions" to develop national energy policy recommendations.
-- MARKET WATCH OPEC production cut agreement boosts oil prices Crude futures prices rose to their highest closing in 2 weeks in the New York market Dec. 14 as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to another production cut, down 500,000 b/d to 25.8 million b/d this time, effective Feb. 1.
-- Kazakhstan to decide on Nations' mineral rights by yearend Kazakhstan's Energy and Natural Resource Minister Baktykozha Izmukhambetov said the Kazakh government will decide by Dec. 30 whether to seek oil and natural gas rights in that country now held by Canada's Nations Energy Co.
-- Exploration Co. names new chairman Exploration Co., San Antonio, has elected James E. Sigmon as chairman to succeed Stephen M. Gose Jr., retired after more than 20 years of service.
-- Gazprom may buy half of Shell's Sakhalin-2 stake Royal Dutch Shell PLC, under stepped-up pressure from the Russian government, is close to making a deal that would allow Russia's OAO Gazprom a stake in the Sakhalin-2 oil and natural gas project.