President Putin has urged partners in the Gazprom-led Shtokman gas project to speed up making a final investment decision on the much delayed project. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced to the media that all of the export production of the Far North Shtokman natural-gas field will be liquefied, a significant strategic step, argues this report. President Putin has pledged that he will provide additional tax discounts for the development of the project if necessary. Ria-Novosti reports that former first deputy prime minister Viktor Zubkov will retain the post of energy giant Gazprom’s board chairman. Apparently the gas monopoly may not be willing to build the northern leg of the South Stream gas pipeline to Austria. Russia’s no 2 oil producer Lukoil has seen profit rise 7.7% in the first quarter thanks to higher crude prices.