Monday AM August 21st, 2006

Breakfast forum to consider U.S.-Chinese energy partnerships... Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators posts decline... Travelers stripped of carry-on toiletries because of heightened airport security find consolation gifts...

China ranks second only to the U.S. for its demand for oil. And China is making investments in energy resources around the world. A breakfast forum hosted by World Oil, Hydrocarbon Processing and Petroleum Economist is set for the St. Regis Hotel on Wednesday morning. One of the speakers is Robert Dowlearn with the Ernst & Young Energy Center, who notes that the acquisition of Unocal by a Chinese company might have been thwarted, but U.S.-based companies are considering strategies for partnering with the Chinese in the energy industry.

"Well, certainly that's part of the topic for the panel. We'll have some discussion both sides of that coin, as well as the opportunity to look at the best strategies for working with the Chinese in the U.S. industry as well as partnering to open the U.S. doors to the Asian exploration in the prolific South China Bay. Ed: We've had trade with China for so many years now. I suppose there's quite a bit of knowledge built up in both directions. Well, we certainly have, and China, with the growing demand they have, as they hit the forefront around with their needs and what they're doing for their own economic sources, they certainly will be part of the ongoing economic realm for the world. Really, we're talking by the year 2020, that's the, they'll be the world's leading economy, so they'll have to do something. Ed: Who's your audience for this event on the 23rd? It really is executives or senior management level from all over the industry."

Dowlearn says U.S. energy companies recognize the value of partnering with Chinese companies, to open doors for Asian exploration.

"Well, we're surely hoping that--one--they'll have an idea of, again, how we may want to work with China in the future. Again, there may be some questions around that. Really, the key thing to remember is that all energy companies here, whether they're domestic or international, are going to be scrambling to increase the reserves. So they're all looking to replace reserves, and that'll be one of the major items that we'll have to address going forward, and based on demand and supply, you know, how will that balance work? Couldn't be a more interesting topic than China at this point, and with China emerging as a major player on all the economic fronts, energy is o different. So China's enormous demand as well as significant worldwide activity in the exploration and production side of the business, it's going to work well for Chinese imperatives around these national oil companies and in how we'll best work with them. The key point is that it's a very interesting and timely topic, and for those interested in registering, we'd love to see you out there. If you go out to, and register and join us for next Wednesday the 23rd."

China's trade surplus with the United States totaled more than $200 billion last year, and 2006 looks about the same.

A forward-looking gauge of economic performance is pointing down. The Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators has posted a decline of one-tenth of one percent. Analysts had been looking for a gain of one-tenth. The index is intended to forecast economic activity in the coming three to six months. Last week, the Federal Reserve decided to leave interest rates unchanged, having boosted them over the previous two years. The feeling among many economists is that economic growth is moderating here in the second half of the year.

Travelers stripped of carry-on toiletries because of heightened airport security have been finding consolation gifts in some Avis rental vehicles. Cincinnati-based Procter and Gamble donated "smile packs'' with Crest toothpaste, mouthwash and floss that Avis is leaving in vehicles at some airports. Executives of Irving-based Omni Hotels huddled within hours of the news of last week's foiled terror plot in Great Britain--and decided to offer some extra pampering. Word went out to managers of the some 40 hotels in North America to stock up on high-end cosmetics including hair gel and sprays, manicure kits and moisturizer. Some hotel chains also are giving guests expanded offerings of free toiletries when they check in. New Jersey-based Wyndham Hotels and Resorts is offering bottled water, contact lens solution, hair spray and hair gel.

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