FRAMINGHAM (03/27/2000) - A global consortium of chemical and petroleum companies last week announced plans to launch a business-to-business electronic marketplace called Envera. By the third quarter, trading members will be able to buy and sell products and will have access to links to global financial institutions, shipping companies and other key service providers.

Two more European retailers have signed on to be equity partners in an online marketplace that Oracle Corp. is setting up with Sears Roebuck & Co. and Paris-based Carrefour SA. The new participants are Metro AG, a German retailer with annual sales of $42 billion, and J Sainsbury PLC, a London-based company that owns Shaw's Supermarkets Inc. in the U.S.

A nationwide survey found that women are logging on to the Web in growing numbers and are driving the growth of Internet use in the U.S. By the end of last year, 106 million people - 53 percent percent of the U.S. adult population - were online, and 60 percent of those people accessed the Web every day, according to a survey by The Strategis Group in Washington. Internet use has grown by 25 percent since 1998.

The number of women using the Web has tripled in the past two and a half years, and 49 percent of all Web users today are women, according to the survey.

A congressional subcommittee approved a bill that would prohibit spammers from sending more e-mail after recipients have asked to be removed from distribution lists. Among other provisions, the bill forbids collecting e-mail addresses from Internet registrars, requires accurate return addresses on unsolicited commercial e-mail and allows users to sue spammers.