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Brothers upgraded Duke Energy (DUK) to Overweight and $34 target from $32. Duke Energy surged following word that the company plans to spin off its natural gas businesses into a standalone corporation that would be one of North America's largest gas businesses.

VeraSun Energy (VSE) in partnership with Ford Motor officially opened a new Midwest Ethanol Corridor. The corridor will increase the availability of VE85, VeraSun's branded E85, with the addition of 14 new retail locations along I-55 in Illinois.J

Merrill analyst Christopher Moore raised Valero (VLO), the largest U.S. oil refiner to 'buy' from 'neutral.'

The U.S. has accused British Petroleum (BP) of secretly and illegally cornering part of the U.S. propane market in early 2004, driving up heating and cooking costs for millions of mostly rural Americans.

Ethanol:

Renewable Fuels Association released the ethanol production and demand data for Apr’06. Total domestic production was 363.5 million gallons (vs. 392.2 million gallon last month), while total demand was 380.2 million gallons (vs. 364.8 million gallon). The U.S. also imported 32.6 million gallons in Apr’06. The ending stock was 381.7 million gallons, or 31.4 days of production

According to RFA, currently there are 101 ethanol plants with 4.8 billion gallons per year of production capacity. There are 34 new ethanol plants and 7 expansions under construction with combined capacity of more than 2.2 billion gallons per year. 900 million gallons per year of new
capacity is expected to come online in the next six months.

Source: Rob Black's Energy Stock Report