ENERGY BRIEFS

ENERGY BRIEFS

SHELL COS. TO EXPLORE

EAST CHINA SEA FOR OIL

HONG KONG - Royal Dutch/Shell Group said it has signed a seven-year contract with China National Offshore Oil Corp. in Beijing to start exploration for oil and gas in a block 155 miles off Wenzhou in the East China Sea.

The contract gives Shell Exploration (China) Ltd. and Shell subsidiary Pecten International Co., each with a 50 percent stake in the venture, the rights to the 3,700-square-kilometer block number 16/19, Shell said.

STRICT SCRUTINY URGED

FOR MINING NOMINEE

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - An environmental group says it wants President Clinton's choice for the head of the U.S. Office of Surface Mining to undergo stiff questioning during confirmation hearings.

The nomination of Robert Uram, a San Francisco coal industry lawyer, as director of the agency is expected to be considered when Congress returns in late January.

"During the confirmation process, we will insist that Mr. Uram fully disclose his industrial client list," the Citizens Coal Council said. "To do otherwise would give these client companies an unfair advantage, even over other coal companies."

Mr. Uram worked for the Interior Department solicitor's office from 1975 until 1983, when he left for a private law practice. He specializes in natural resource law for a firm whose clients are mostly companies.