After reports emerged yesterday that the Druzhba pipeline was running dangerously low on supplies to the Czech Republic, oil-pipeline operator Transneft has assured customers that it is ready to provide all required crude supplies, in accordance with the agreed schedule. This report would seem to contradict that, however. Russia has apparently doubled quarterly Gazprom Neft’s quota for supplies of Urals blend to 400,000 tons of oil to the Czech Republic via the Druzhba pipeline in a swap with Rosneft, in an attempt to allay concerns. Russia’s second-largest gas producer Novatek has told Reuters it has ramped up production in the first quarter of 2012 compared to a year ago. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has apparently told the Iranian media that Iran has enough funds to withstand a total embargo on its oil sales for two to three years. The former chief executive-designate of BP’s Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, Maxim Barsky, who left the group due to a lack of promotion, has returned to the industry by buying into minnow explorer Matra Petroleum. Russia’s state atomic energy corporation Rosatom sets its sights on South Africa.