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Fri, Nov 19, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Oil Exploration

Shell to focus on Asia

Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Europe's second-largest oil company, plans to spend US$3 billion on drilling for oil and gas in Asia over the next three years, Dominique Gardy, Shell's Asia-Pacific chairman of exploration and production said in Singapore yesterday. The firm will be "more aggressive on exploration" in the Asia-Pacific region, focusing its spending on exploration and development in Australia, China and Borneo island in Southeast Asia, he said. "We have the opportunity to replenish our portfolio and our investment to benefit more from the higher price" of oil and natural gas, he said.

■ Internet

Google adds new service

Online search engine leader Google Inc is setting out make better sense of all the scholarly work stored on the Web. The company's new service, unveiled late Wednesday at http://scholar.google.com, draws upon newly developed algorithms to list the academic research that appears to be most relevant to a search request. Google doesn't plan to charge for the service nor use the feature to deliver text-based ads -- the primary source of its profits. By focusing on the citations contained in academic papers, Google also engineered its new system to provide a list of potentially helpful material available at libraries and other offline sources.

■ Semiconductors

Micron catches up to Hynix

The chipmaker Micron Technology Inc has pulled at least even with South Korean rival Hynix Semiconductor for the No.2 spot in the global production of dynamic random access memory chips, according to a survey by a British research firm. Gartner Dataquest of the UK said both Micron and Hynix had third quarter revenue of US$1.04 billion, or 15.2 percent of the market. That compared to second quarter revenue of nearly US$1.14 billion, or 16.7 percent of the market, for Hynix and only US$1.02 billion, or 14.9 percent, for Micron.

■ Auto Industry

Mitsubishi Motors to get aid

Scandal-hit Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp will likely get ?100 billion (US$960 million) in additional aid from three group firms, a report said yesterday. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, trading house Mitsubishi Corp and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd have reached a basic agreement on the additional assistance, the Sankei Shimbun said without citing sources. The aid will be unveiled in mid-December when Mitsubishi Motors announces plans on how it will try to recover business hit by a series of defect cover-ups, the newspaper said.

■ Mining

Noranda talks end

Canada's biggest mining company, Noranda Inc, has ended exclusive talks with China Minmetals Corp, but the Chinese metals trader said yesterday it will persist with its acquisition bid. Noranda announced Wednesday that the two-month deadline for exclusive talks with China Minmetals had expired, though discussions with the Beijing-based metals giant were continuing on a non-exclusive basis. Minmetals is leading a US$5.5 billion bid by a consortium of major Chinese state companies for 100 percent of Noranda -- part of a recent surge of overseas acquisitions and investments by Chinese companies seeking to expand their markets and gain access to scarce natural resources.

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