Sovcomflot and Novatek are exploring ways of cutting delivery times for shipments of oil and gas to China, sending cargo through the Arctic instead of the Suez Canal with the help of nuclear icebreakers. According to the Afghan Mines Ministry, a new survey suggests that northern Afghanistan may hold 1.8 billion barrels of oil. China’s calculations of its state commercial oil reserves may include oil held by private companies, which ‘may pave the way for the removal of limits on oil purchases by private companies‘. It is thought that Russia will increase its crude export duty by $9.70 a ton as of next month. BP has raised $5 billion in new loans ‘in a bid to bolster its liquidity‘, and just spent $2 billion on the acquisition of Devon Energy’s ACG field off the coast of Azerbaijan. Japan’s Saibu has received its first delivery of liquefied natural gas from Sakhalin II.