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E-mail story: Bloomberg News
Iraq to Increase Its Oil
Fuzhio, China November 27, 2004 (xingtv
/ tvinews) - Production has been restored to prewar
levels and efforts are being made to boost it an
additional 15% /
Iraq, the fifth-largest oil producer in the Middle
East, will spend more than $1 billion next year to
increase production capacity by about 15% to 3.25
million barrels a day, an Iraqi official said.
-----"The budget is
fixed for priority projects to build new export
pipelines and complete modifications to our
refineries," Abdulilah Amir, a foreign relations
advisor to Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban, said
in a telephone interview
-----Iraq, which holds
oil reserves estimated by the Arab Oil and Gas
Directory to be the third-largest in the Middle
East at about 112.5 billion barrels, can produce as
many as 2.8 million barrels a day of oil at full
capacity, Amir said from
-----Iraq's plans to
increase capacity to 3 million barrels a day this
year were curtailed by persistent attacks by
militants against foreign contractors and
pipelines. The U.S.-government funded Restore Iraqi
Oil program returned output to prewar levels of
more than 2 million barrels a day this year after
last year's invasion led to a production
-----Some of the
world's largest oil companies, including Exxon
Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch/Shell Group and
ChevronTexaco Corp., are intent on bidding to
develop Iraq's oil resources should the government
decide to open up the industry to foreign
investment after elections next
-----Oil exports rose
to almost 2.3 million barrels a day in October,
according to the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries. Iraqi officials said shipments
from the Basra oil terminal were halved last week
because of equipment-corrosion
-----Basra and Iraq's
southern provinces, which have escaped most of the
security problems that have crippled the industry
in the north, are its most fertile areas for oil
Oil Co., formed in 1968, claims to account for
about 2 million barrels a day of the country's
total output capacity pumped from 813 wells, spread
across 12 fields.
----- The company,
which is headed by Jabbar Leaby, took over the
Garmat Ali water-treatment plant, which will inject
liquid into wells to help pump more oil this month.
The plant, which is vital to maintaining the flow
of oil from the Rumaila field, was rebuilt under
the Restore Iraqi Oil program by Kellogg Brown
& Root, a unit of Halliburton
Ministry is seeking the assistance of foreign oil
and engineering companies to help expand production
facilities and oil fields in the face of a campaign
waged by militants to undermine the industry, which
is the country's main source of income.
----- Five companies
from a list of 14, including Shell, were invited to
participate this month in a second round of bidding
for a contract to study the Rumaila and Kirkuk oil
fields, the country's biggest, Amir said.
Ltd., the world's second-biggest oil-services
company, is one of the five invited to bid again to
study one of the fields, a company official in
-----Shell and Chevron
are among foreign companies offering Iraqis free
consulting services to help build stronger
relationships that may lead to larger commercial
production contracts in the
from the export of oil is forecast to double next
year to about $17.5 billion from the 2003 figure,
after the removal of the former regime of Saddam
Hussein, Daniel Hanna, senior Middle East economist
with Standard Chartered, said in a telephone
----- "When the Paris
Club met to cut Iraq's debt, they said they would
possibly review the situation, as Iraq is an
incredibly oil- rich country," Hanna said. "Its
ability to develop these resources and the impact
next year's elections and security will have on
this is the real issue for the oil
-----The Paris Club is
an informal group of creditor nations whose role is
to find sustainable solutions to the payment
difficulties experienced by debtor
oil company PDVSA
may sell some parts of Citgo Petroleum
Venezuela November 29th 2004 (xingtv / tvinews) -
Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA may sell some
parts of Citgo Petroleum Corp., its U.S. refining
and marketing affiliate, PDVSA's new president said
-----"We're looking at it," said Rafael
Ramirez, Venezuela's energy minister and the newly
named president of PDVSA, in an interview with
local television in Caracas. "It depends on the
review we make. We'll see what suits us and what
-----Ramirez, who was appointed PDVSA chief
by President Hugo Chavez on Nov. 20, said "some
parts" of the Citgo operations could be
-----Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil
exporter and a member of the Organization of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries, is a leading
supplier of crude oil and refined products to the
-----Through Citgo, PDVSA operates a network
of U.S. refineries and more than 15,000 gasoline
-----PDVSA, the state-owned oil company
formally known as Petroleos de Venezuela, also has
shares in European refineries in Germany, Sweden,
Belgium and Britain.
-----"I think there are some things which
don't suit us, not just in Citgo, but above all in
Europe," Ramirez said.
-----Since left-winger Chavez survived a
crippling strike at PDVSA staged by political
opponents in late 2002 and early 2003, he has moved
to tighten government control over the state oil
-----Citgo said earlier this month its
third-quarter profit doubled on increased use of
cheaper heavy crude oil when U.S. gasoline prices
were riding high. In late October, U.S. crude
futures hit an all-time high of $55.67 a
-----Net income jumped to $205 million from
$103 million a year earlier, Houston-based Citgo
FOR MORE STORY
Studios Is Sold
of Hollywood's most storied film lots has been
former Columbia Pictures headquarters, most
recently known as Sunset-Gower Studios, was
acquired by Menlo Park, Calif., private equity firm
GI Partners. It landed the 17-acre property, which
includes the Nickelodeon Theater, from Pick-Vanoff
Co. at a price real estate industry sources put at
lot has one of the richest histories in the
entertainment industry, dating to a tiny studio
that movie tycoon Harry Cohn bought on Sunset
Boulevard between Gower Street and Beachwood Drive
in 1920. After it became home to Columbia Pictures
in 1924, some of Columbia's most noteworthy films
&emdash; among them "It Happened One Night," "Mr.
Smith Goes to Washington," "From Here to Eternity"
and "Funny Girl" &emdash; were shot there. Some
celebrated television shows were made on the lot
too, including the 1960s hits "I Dream of Jeannie"
and TV programs will continue to be filmed on the
13 soundstages, GI Partners said Wednesday.
Projects underway include episodes of the
television shows "Six Feet Under," "American
Dreams" and "Eve."
Tainiter, a partner in the equity firm, said it
typically invested in businesses "with a high
degree of recurring revenue."
has been one of the premier independent studios for
a long time," Tainiter said.
wouldn't disclose what the studio's revenue stream
has been. It makes money renting soundstages,
office space and equipment and providing support
services such as catering.
Tainiter now has an office on the lot, veteran
General Manager Steve Auer will run day-to-day
operations of the studio, Tainiter said. Cosmetic
improvements will be made to the lot, and more
stage and office space may be developed, Tainiter
said, though he declined to say how much would be
1976, the Columbia glory days were over when
Pick-Vanoff bought the property for $6.2
Pick and Nick Vanoff got what the industry
considered a white elephant that had been so
thoroughly looted that it was missing office doors,
carpeting and toilet seats. Many of the soundstages
had been converted to indoor tennis courts.
and Vanoff renovated the studio, and by 1981 the
renamed Sunset-Gower Studios had become a bustling
lot, with ABC renting a third of its stages.
1983, Pick and Vanoff also purchased the landmark
Aquarius Theater, which had been the Moulin Rouge
nightclub and the Earl Carroll Theatre. They
converted it into a state-of-the art television
theater that for nine years was the home of "Star
Search" and today is the Nickelodeon Theater.
was a German immigrant who survived a Nazi
concentration camp and went on to build a real
estate empire in Los Angeles before he died in
2002. He built the Cinerama Dome in 1963 and the
two bank buildings on the southwest corner of
Sunset and Vine Street. And he turned the former
KHJ-TV studio on North Vine Street into a thriving
independent television facility that was bought by
ABC in 1970.
1963, he also built the first high-rise hotel on
the Sunset Strip; it's now called the Hyatt West
Hollywood but may best be known as the Continental
was a former dancer and successful television
producer born in Greece, whose shows included "The
Hollywood Palace," the second "Sonny & Cher
Show" and "Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall." He died
in 1991, a year after winning a Tony Award for best
musical for his production of "City of Angels."
son, Mark, took over management of the studio that
year. Sunset-Gower wasn't on the market, Mark Pick
said, but GI Partners "was remarkably persistent.
The more I said 'no,' the more dogged they
said he would miss life on the lot and such
memorable moments as the rehearsal for the 1993
Academy Awards where a boa constrictor to be used
in the performance of a song from "Aladdin" escaped
from its handler and disappeared, sending the
rehearsal into chaos. The snake reappeared weeks
later hungry but unharmed.
may use profits from the sale to buy another
studio, he said.
was the third studio to be sold this year. The
historic Culver Studios in Culver City where Cecile
B. DeMille filmed silent movies was purchased for
$80 million in April by a group of El Segundo and
New York investors. Last month, a Los Angeles
investment banking firm reportedly paid close to
$100 million for Manhattan Beach Studios, a
5-year-old studio in Manhattan Beach.
with television and film production improving in
L.A. County, only private investors are seeking out
these investments," said commercial real estate
broker Carl Muhlstein of Cushman & Wakefield.
"You would think the majors who rent them would
want to bid on them."
and television producers aren't putting money into
hard assets, he said, preferring to simply rent
their facilities and charge the expenses to
Partners manages a $526-million investment fund
backed by the California Public Employees'
Retirement System pension fund and CB Richard
Ellis, a Los Angeles-based real estate services
company. Most of its properties are
telecommunications facilities, such as the Brea
Data Center in Brea and Carrier Center in downtown
Highlights For Week
Adds Fewer Jobs Than Expected - Nov. 28, 2004
nation's hiring engine faltered yet again in
November, with the Labor Department reporting
Friday that the economy added a net 112,000 jobs
during the month. That was much fewer than the
200,000 that economists were expecting and only
about two-thirds of what needs to be created each
month to keep up with the growth in population.
unemployment rate fell to 5.4% from 5.5% the
has seesawed for more than a year now, with periods
of strong growth followed by weak ones.
numbers looked particularly weak in contrast to
October's totals, which even after being revised
downward Friday were an impressive 303,000.
when I thought it was safe to say the job market
had finally firmed up, we discovered once again we
were wrong," said economist Joel Naroff. "There's a
new psychology in the corporate sector. If they
need to hire 10 people, they try to get by with
Weather, Higher Supply Knock Oil Prices
prices fell sharply last week as unseasonably warm
weather in the Northeast and the return of Gulf of
Mexico production crimped by Hurricane Ivan allowed
U.S. refiners to build heating-fuel
for January delivery tumbled $6.90, or 14%, to
$42.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange
last week. Prices have plunged 24% from the Oct. 25
peak of $55.67 a barrel, which was the highest
level in the 21 years the contract has traded.
stockpiles of distillates, including heating oil
and diesel fuel, rose 20% last week, the biggest
jump in almost five months, the Energy Department
said. The rise in stockpiles should signal a
further decline in gasoline prices this week,
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
will meet in Cairo on Friday to discuss production
quotas and target prices.
oil prices and the declining value of the dollar
may push OPEC to take steps that could cause oil
prices to rise, some analysts said.
CalPERS Chief May Return
Harrigan, who was ousted last week as president of
the California Public Employees' Retirement System,
may soon be back on the board of the $177-billion
lost his seat when the state Personnel Board voted
3 to 2 to replace him as its representative to the
CalPERS board. His term expires Dec. 31.
according to sources close to the talks, Harrigan
and his backers in the labor and corporate
governance movements have asked Assembly Speaker
Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate
President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) to appoint
the deposed CalPERS president to a board seat
controlled by the two legislative leaders.
familiar with the discussions said Nuñez
made no commitment other than to encourage Harrigan
to line up support from top national and regional
Asian Nations, China Sign Trade Pact
inked a deal with 10 Southeast Asian countries to
create the world's largest free trade area,
bolstering its influence in a region long dominated
by the United States.
leaders attending the Assn. of Southeast Asian
Nations meeting in Laos also announced plans to
hold the first East Asian Summit next year in
Malaysia. The Asia-only gathering would include
China, Japan and South Korea.
moves are likely to boost China's political and
economic interests in an area where its relations
have been strained by territorial disputes and
lingering war animosities.
could reduce U.S. clout among Southeast Asian
nations that are key military allies and large
markets for U.S. farm goods, machinery and
free trade pact would lead to the elimination of
tariffs by China and ASEAN on thousands of products
Holiday Sales Show Weakness
retailers logged wimpy sales in November, which
might prompt them to tempt consumers with
bigger-than-planned discounts this month.
stores open for at least a year, a key industry
indicator, rose 1.7% from a year earlier, according
to a survey by the International Council of
Shopping Centers. The year-over-year rate in
November 2003 was 3.7%.
Of the 71
retail chains surveyed this year, 45% reported
breadth of the weakness was certainly evident,"
said Michael Niemira, the council's chief
of shopping steadily through the month in a way
that builds momentum, he said, people bought in
surges spurred by sales, and that made for little
"follow-through" spending. What's more, he said,
bricks-and-mortar stores may have lost revenues as
more Americans shopped on the Internet.
result, Niemira trimmed his forecast for the
holiday season, saying he expected same-store sales
to rise 2.5% to 3% in November and December
combined, not the 3% to 4% he had predicted
Merger Is Completed
several false starts and months of controversy,
Anthem Inc. completed its acquisition of WellPoint
Health Networks Inc., creating the largest health
insurer in the nation, with more than 28 million
company will operate out of Anthem's Indianapolis
headquarters but will adopt a streamlined version
of its Thousand Oaks-based target's name: WellPoint
the deal was announced in October 2003, Anthem's
stock has risen 31%, while WellPoint's has soared
said they expected the bulked-up insurer to grab
employee health benefit accounts at big
corporations operating in multiple states.
combined WellPoint covers more than a third more
people than its next largest competitor,
Minneapolis-based UnitedHealth Group
TV Pioneer to Leave DirecTV
W. Hartenstein, widely regarded as the father of
modern-day satellite television, will retire as
vice chairman of News Corp.'s DirecTV Group Inc. at
year-end, the company said.
said that Hartenstein had grown frustrated with his
diminishing role at the company he launched in 1990
and built into the nation's leading satellite TV
provider. Since News Corp. took control last
December, the sources said, Hartenstein has
increasingly been cut out of the loop.
resignation caught many employees at the El
Segundo-based company by surprise. The executive is
just 54 &emdash; young enough, industry sources
speculated, to start a second career at another
said he planned to take some time off before
contemplating his next move.
"expertise and counsel have been critical to our
progress during the last year," Chase Carey, chief
executive of DirecTV, said in a statement.
to Lift Ban on Mexican
U.S. plans to lift a 90-year-old ban on importing
Hass avocados from Mexico into California, over the
strenuous objections of the state's growers, who
say an infestation of bugs from south of the border
could damage their orchards.
arrival of the Mexican-grown fruit in California,
scheduled to begin in 2007, could reduce prices for
consumers. But it could also slash state growers'
sales by as much as 20%, according to federal
the new rules, the U.S. Department of Agriculture
said it would allow Mexico to ship avocados to all
50 states year-round.
regulations limited Mexican avocados to 31 Northern
and Midwestern states far from the nation's
avocado-growing regions. What's more, imports were
confined to between Oct. 15 and April 15, when the
population of insects that could damage the U.S.
crop thins out.
Boosts Revenue Forecast for 4th
maker Intel Corp. raised its quarterly sales
forecast for the first time in more than a year,
citing strong demand for its microprocessors that
run most of the world's personal and corporate
upbeat fourth-quarter forecast from Santa Clara,
Calif.-based Intel, a barometer of the tech
sector's health, came on the same day that
technology market researcher IDC said it expected
chip sales to rise 26% in 2004 but fall 2% in 2005
because of overproduction. Sales should grow in
2006, IDC said.
Chief Financial Officer Andy Bryant told analysts
that revenue for the three months ending Dec. 31
was likely to be $9.3 billion to $9.5 billion, up
from the previous estimate of $8.6 billion to $9.2
Uncovers More Unreported
California Edison Co., which has admitted using
faulty workplace safety data to win
performance-based bonuses from the state, said the
blame fell mostly on Edison's failure to keep track
of cuts, bruises and other minor injuries among its
&emdash; the main unit of Rosemead-based Edison
International &emdash; said it also uncovered
"several hundred" more serious on-the-job injuries
between 1999 and 2004 that went unreported.
injuries also are supposed to be logged for the
California Division of Occupational Safety and
Health. They came on top of 3,466 such injuries
that Edison did report to Cal/OSHA during that
time, Edison said.
so, Edison asserted that the additional injuries
would not have deprived Edison of wining the
performance bonuses from the California Public
Utilities Commission, and that there was no
concerted effort by the electric utility to cheat
FOR MORE Bylines
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