General Interest news briefs, May 18

New York Mercantile Exchange ... TotalFinaElf SA


The New York Mercantile Exchange will raise the margins on the June, July, and August 2000 contracts for Cinergy, Entergy, and Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Maryland electricity futures to $5,600 from $3,600 for clearing members; to $6,160 from $3,960 for members; and to $7,560 from $4,860 for customers, as of the close of business May 17. Margins on spreads involving the Cinergy, Entergy, and Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Maryland June, July, and August 2000 electricity futures contracts will be increased to $4,000 from $2,000 for clearing members; to $4,400 from $2,200 for members; and to $5,400 from $2,700 for customers.

TotalFinaElf SA says pumping operations to empty the Erika tanker, which foundered in December 70 km off the coast of France, will start in 3 weeks and last until September. The firm says pumping operations and cleanup costs will total 850 million francs.

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