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Friday, August 31, 2012 10:13:10 PM

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RDSA News Highlights: Top Energy Stories of the Day
BY DJ Realtime News 6:00 PM ET 08/31/2012
TOP STORIES

EPA TO GRANT SHELL REQUEST FOR ALASKA PERMIT CHANGES

U.S. regulators grant a Shell request to alter the terms of an air pollution permit for the company's Alaska drilling activities, removing a potential headache for the firm as it proceeds to drill in the Arctic Ocean for the first time in decades.

BERNANKE DEFENDS MOVES, POINTS TO FUTURE STEPS

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke points repeatedly to the possibility of further stimulus action and vigorously defends the benefits of the central bank's past use of unconventional policies to bolster the economy.

OIL RISES 2% FOLLOWING BERNANKE REMARKS

Oil prices settle higher after a closely-watched speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke leaves the door open to additional U.S. economic stimulus, but stops short of announcing a specific plan. Nymex futures finish at $96.47 a barrel.

OIL, GAS COMPANIES RESTAFF U.S. GULF COAST REFINERIES

The U.S. Gulf Coast's energy producers move to restart refineries and restart platforms as Tropical Depression Isaac peters out over the Mississippi River Valley.

U.S. NATURAL-GAS DEMAND JUMPS, BOOSTED BY POWER SECTOR

U.S. demand for natural gas continued its surge, increasing by 12.2% in June from a year earlier, led by the U.S. power sector as electricity generators raised gas use by 25.4%, government data show.

DOE LENDS 1M BARRELS OF OIL TO MARATHON PETROLEUM

The U.S. Energy Department says it agreed to lend 1 million barrels of Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil to Marathon Petroleum to address the short-term impact of Hurricane Isaac on the company's refining capacity.

VENEZUELA IMPORTING GASOLINE AFTER REFINERY EXPLOSION

Government-run energy monopoly Petroleos de Venezuela orders the importing of gasoline to feed its domestic market after a major explosion at the country's largest oil refinery last weekend rendered most of the facility paralyzed.

POSSIBLE NORWAY STRIKE WON'T IMPACT OIL OUTPUT, COMPANIES SAY

Norway could be facing another strike by oil workers represented by the labor union Industri Energi as early as Sunday morning in the North Sea, but the action is not expected to immediately threaten production, according to Statoil and ExxonMobil.

ATHABASCA IN JOINT-VENTURE TALKS ON THERMAL OIL PROPERTIES

Calgary-based Athabasca Oil says it is in talks for a joint venture involving some of its thermal oil properties, but declines to disclose who the proposed investor is.

LUKOIL SEES OUTPUT GROWTH FROM 2013 OR 2014

OAO Lukoil Holdings, Russia's biggest independent oil producer, expects to reverse falling output and start increasing hydrocarbon production from 2013 or 2014, the company's vice president says.

U.S. STOCKS END HIGHER ON BERNANKE

Shares finish up across the board after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke underscores the central bank's readiness to act to bolster the economy. DJIA adds 90 points to 13091, and logs a third straight monthly gain.

U.S. FACTORY ORDERS POST BIGGEST GAIN IN A YEAR

The Commerce Department says orders for manufactured goods rose 2.8% to $ 478.62 billion in July, the biggest jump in a year and the latest bright spot in the manufacturing sector amid an otherwise tepid economic recovery.

======== DOW JONES NEWSWIRES ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY ========

Fed Watch
BERNANKE'S SPEECH HELD STRONG CLUES FOR NEW ACTION

A speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke affirms economists' expectations that the central bank is very likely to deliver additional stimulus to the economy, Michael Derby writes.

Big Picture QE3 STILL ON TABLE, BUT IT MAY NOT OFFSET DRAGS

Fed Chairman Bernanke made it clear that the Fed stands ready to help the economy with further quantitative easing. But he also acknowledged current headwinds may be immune to QE3's tonic, writes Kathleen Madigan.


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