North Korea’s U.N. ambassador has argued that the U.S. modernization of its nuclear weapons and expansion of its missile defense systems will provoke a new nuclear arms race. The progress of talks beginning today between the two states will depend upon North Korea’s show of willingness to renounce its nuclear weapons program, says the Washington Post. Foreign Policy Journal wonders whether Russia’s ‘step-by-step’ plan for Iran will be successful in re-starting negotiations with a defensive Tehran. Shell has seen its profits hit $8 billion on higher oil prices. British Gas customers will be disappointed to see that the company, which has just increased its prices, has made profits of £3 million a day. Gazprom extends its footing in South America, with plans to explore Paraguay, ‘South America’s least explored frontier in terms of hydrocarbons‘. A study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy has concluded that the widespread exploitation of shale gas will greatly undermine Russia’s hold over energy supplies and the political sway that entails in Europe. Shell has apparently expressed an interest in producing shale gas in Kharkov Region. Bulgaria is reportedly considering filing an $88 million claim against Rosatom in a dispute over the construction of the 6.4 billion euro Belene nuclear plant. Russia plans to sell as much as 15% of oil company OAO Rosneft next year in the biggest state asset sale in the nation’s history.