Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has sung the praises of the Orinoco oil belt to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin; the field is currently being exploited by a consortium of Russian oil majors and Petroleos de Venezuela. Russia’s Gazprom and Germany’s RWE are extending by some three months their exclusive talks about joint power plants in Germany, Britain and the Benelux countries. The former has been awarded a licence to develop the huge Kovykta gas field in Siberia it purchased in March. France’s Total has joined with Novatek to explore the untapped reserves of the Yamal liquefied natural gas project in Siberia. Russia’s second-biggest oil producer Lukoil may invest as much as $300 million in exploration blocks off Romania’s Black Sea coast. Bulgaria has filed an $81 million suit against Rosatom Corp for unpaid purchases of old equipment in the quarrel surrounding the the construction of a nuclear plant on the Danube. As elections loom, Russian authorities have apparently unofficially put a curb on retail fuel prices, in an attempt to keep motorists on side.