Oil prices near $50 as hurricane decreases output
WASHINGTON — Oil prices charged toward $50 a barrel
yesterday, and gasoline prices surged to $1.92 a gallon last week,
as petroleum output in the Gulf of Mexico returns at a
slower-than-expected rate after Hurricane Ivan and geopolitical
unrest keeps traders on edge.
The United States has lost more than 11 million barrels of oil
production in the past two weeks, according to government data,
with Gulf of Mexico output still down nearly 500,000 barrels a day.
Analysts had initially thought the region’s oil production
would return to normal about a week after the hurricane.
The blow to domestic output, while expected to be short-lived,
comes as analysts worry about OPEC’s inability to swiftly and
sharply increase production in the event of a more significant and
prolonged supply disruption.
Real estate sales increase in August
WASHINGTON — Sales of new homes rose by 9.4 percent in
August, the Commerce Department said yesterday, as mortgage
interest rates remained at low enough levels to continue enticing
buyers worried about future rate hikes.
New home sales climbed to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of
1.18 million homes, up from a revised 1.08 million sales pace in
The increase was the largest since December 2000, when new home
sales jumped by 11.7 percent. In July, new home sales fell by 7.3
Enron aide: Fastow tried to buy out company
HOUSTON — As Enron Corp. scrambled to unload interest in
several barges in December 1999, former finance chief Andrew Fastow
contemplated coming to the rescue with a buyer he created so he
would be a hero to then-president Jeffrey Skilling, Fastow’s
former top aide testified yesterday.
The aide, Michael Kopper, said during the first criminal trial
to emerge from Enron’s December 2001 crash that he considered
it a risky deal for Fastow’s LJM2 partnership to buy into,
even though Fastow said it would help Enron and “he would
look like a hero to Jeff Skilling.”
But then-treasurer Jeff McMahon was enlisting Merrill Lynch
& Co. to buy the interest in the barges and allow Enron to book
a $12 million pretax profit at the end of 1999 — and the
brokerage came through.
Russian oil giant’s shares evaluated at $15
MOSCOW — Assets of Russia’s beleaguered Yukos oil
company should fetch at least $15 billion, a senior official said
yesterday, as the company’s main production unit is evaluated
for sale to offset a crushing back-tax bill.
If applied to Yukos’s main production unit
Yuganskneftegaz, which is currently being evaluated for sale
against the tax claims, that price tag would put it beyond the
reach of state-controlled companies, which are strapped for free
— Compiled from Daily wire reports