General Interest news briefs, Jan. 31

US Minerals Management Service � Petroleum Services Association of Canada � Alaska Tanker Co. � Nova Scotia's Petroleum Directorate � Mazars et Gu�rd � TotalFinaElf � Thailand � US Environmental Protection Agency

The US Minerals Management Service distributed a record $800 million last year to 35 states as their share of royalties from mineral production on federal lands and in federal waters. This is up from $541 million in 1999, $559 million in 1998, and $617 million in 1997. Thomas R. Kitsos, acting MMS director, attributed the record to high commodity prices.

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada forecasts a record 17,500 wells will be drilled in Canada this year. The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors recently predicted 18,500 wells for 2001. The previous high was 16,507 wells in 2000, which broke a 1997 record of 16,485. Strong demand and commodity prices for oil and gas and record cash flows are fuelling the drilling activity, which will be weighted in favor of gas prospects.

Alaska Tanker Co. said Monday the tanker Prince William Sound spilled about 10 bbl of North Slope crude while anchored at Port Angeles, Wash. The incident is under investigation.

Nova Scotia's Petroleum Directorate has begun steps to revise the province's energy strategy, last reviewed in 1991. A discussion paper will be issued and public consultations will be held.

Mazars et Gu�rd estimates three regions on the Brittany coast in France suffered 6 billion francs in damages from the Erika tanker oil spill. This is five times the 1.5 billion franc ceiling set by the Oil Pollution Compensation Fund, which so far has paid only 50 million francs. TotalFinaElf SA has said it would spend 1 billion francs to recover the oil, clean the spill, and thelp restore the shoreline.

Thailand will use 1.19 million b/d of crude oil equivalent in primary energy consumption this year, up 2.8% over last year. The projection is in line with the forecast Thai economic growth rate of 4.3%, according to the National Energy Policy Office, the kingdom's energy planning and regulatory body.

The US Environmental Protection Agency released a draft report that said US greenhouse gas emissions rose 0.9% from 1998 to 1999. Emissions of the six main greenhouse gases (weighted to reflect equivalent emissions of carbon dioxide) rose to 6,748 million metric tons from 6,689. The gases include: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.

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