COMMODITY / ENERGY BRIEFS

COMMODITY / ENERGY BRIEFS

HOUSE PANEL BACKS SALE

OF PETROLEUM RESERVE

WASHINGTON - A House panel Tuesday approved a measure to sell off all six properties that form the U.S. Naval Petroleum Reserve.

The House already has approved separate legislation to sell the reserve's main oil producing field, Elk Hills in California, and the Senate is expected to debate the matter as early as this week.

Congressional Budget Office figures show that the sale of all six properties will generate $1.55 billion in fiscal 1996.

However, the congressional accountants also estimate that by the year 2002, the sale of the reserve will actually have cost the government $1.05 billion in lost oil revenue from the reserve.

The House National Security Committee was considering the measure as part of its obligation to meet spending targets set by House and Senate budget negotiators over the next seven years.

PEMEX LOWERS PRICE

ON OIL FOR EXPORT

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, on Tuesday started cutting the price of exported oil by as much as 35 cents a barrel.

Heavy crude Maya will drop 35 cents a barrel in the European market, but light Isthmus crude will remain unchanged.

Isthmus and another light crude, Olmeca, will drop 10 cents a barrel in the Americas, while Maya will remain unchanged.

In the Far East, the price of Maya will fall 30 cents a barrel and Isthmus will drop 5 cents a barrel.

Olmeca crude cost $17.96 a barrel during the first six months of this year, according to Pemex figures, while Isthmus cost $17.32 and Maya was $15.16.

Mexico exported 1.28 million barrels a day during the first half of this year. The price cuts will keep Mexican oil competitive in the international market, said a Pemex press release.

TRADE COMMISSION OKS

ELI LILLY ACQUISITION

WASHINGTON - The Federal Trade Commission has approved Eli Lilly and Co.'s $4 billion purchase of McKesson Corp.'s prescription management business, PCS Health Systems Inc.

Commissioners, who approved the deal Monday, had feared Lilly's purchase of PCS, the country's largest drug benefits manager, serving some 50 million people, would cause it to favor Lilly products when it recommends drugs to customers.

But the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical maker has agreed to a series of restrictions the FTC says will guard against the company gaining an unfair competitive edge over other drug manufacturers.

Lilly's acquisition of PCS is the third recent transaction in which a major

drug company has bought a pharmacy benefit manager. Merck & Co. has acquired Medco Containment Services and SmithKline Beecham PLC has bought Diversified Pharmaceutical Services.

LYONDELL CITGO REFINERY

RELEASES LIGHT GAS OIL

HOUSTON - Lyondell Citgo officials confirmed a release of light gas oil from a unit at the 265,000-barrel-a-day Houston refinery Tuesday.

Reports indicate the release came from a damaged coker unit, which was in the process of being restarted. The 11,000-barrel-a-day unit was shut after a fire on Friday.

The fire caused a slight decrease in the refinery's crude oil processing rate because the coker's downtime prevented full operation.

NYMEX SEEKS HEARING

ON NJ GASOLINE RULES

NEW YORK - The New York Mercantile Exchange filed a summary motion asking for a hearing of its refiled suit to block New Jersey from dropping requirements that gasoline sold in winter contain more oxygen than that sold in other months.

''The exchange has requested a hearing in September," a Nymex spokeswoman said, although she said no date has been set so far.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey attorney general's office said the state expects its motion to dismiss the refiled Nymex suit to be heard in early October.

Nymex's first suit was dismissed July 18 on procedural grounds.

The dispute arose after New Jersey last year cut short its winter oxygasoline season by two months, citing health concerns and high costs.

The result was that the Nymex gasoline futures contract was not matched to 40 percent of the underlying spot market in New York harbor.