Ukraine has invited Gazprom to be involved in the country’s efforts to modernize pipelines but tensions still remain over Ukraine’s EU deal. Russia will not fine Ukraine for importing less gas than envisioned in January, and may prepay Ukraine for the transport of Russian gas, to enable Kiev to pay for Russian gas supplies. Whilst Moscow and Sofia may have reached an agreement on the South Stream pipeline, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin says that the core issue, namely Russia’s employment of Bulgaria’s gas pipelines, has not been dealt with. Despite reports emerging about profits nosediving, TNK-BP claim to have a ‘healthy cash position’ and are contemplating a series of mergers and acquisitions abroad and in Russia. Gazprom has affirmed that the price of natural gas for ex-Soviet republics in 2009 will be below $200 per 1,000 cubic meter. The company has said that its fourth quarter profits fell by 84% due to a sharp drop in demand. In a joint venture, German groups E.ON and RWE have bought two nuclear sites in England, with French company EDF buying a third site.