Ukraine suggests that the way to solve its ongoing gas dispute with Russia is to create a consortium that would include the European Union. Azerbaijan’s gas contract with Russia has had a 50% boost, with volumes estimated at 3 billion cubic meters for 2012. Russian oil producers will freeze retail prices for motor fuels at last month’s levels until the presidential elections in March. Gazprom has brought forward the building start date of the South Stream natural gas pipeline to December 2012. Russian drilling has hit a post-Soviet high last year at 511 million tons; during the same period, however, it more than doubled gasoline imports. China’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia hit record highs in December.