Energy-hungry China has, according to Bloomberg, signed an agreement to increase natural-gas supplies from Turkmenistan, despite the fact it is continuing negotiations with Gazprom to buy the fuel. Should Russia be worried? Twenty-six companies, including Austria’s OMV and a handful of Turkish companies have applied for a license to transfer 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas through the West Pipeline, after the deal between Gazprom and Botas ended. In an apparent attempt to maintain good relations with anti-nuclear Germany, Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas has proposed talks with Berlin over his country’s plans to build two new nuclear reactors. Funding for Europe’s planned Nabucco gas pipeline project can be settled, consortium chief Reinhard Mitschek maintains, while a key decision on gas supplies from Azerbaijan is expected later this year. The Romanian section of the Europe-backed pipeline will probably require around $1.6 billion in investment and its construction will be contingent upon the results of an environmental assessment of the project in 2012. France’s GDF Suez has apparently joined other major European utilities in entering talks with Russia’s Gazprom to renegotiate the price of oil-indexed gas supply contracts. TNK-BP has announced it has started talks to buy natural-gas distribution business Gazeks from billionaire Viktor Vekselberg’s ZAO Integrated Energy Systems. State-backed Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp apparently expects demand for LNG to rise by 20 million tonnes next year as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March.