Almost $50 billion will be poured into ‘hydrographic and geophysical research‘ in the Arctic in an attempt to prove Russia’s right to claim more of the Arctic floor and what are thought to be its vast oil and gas reserves. Gazprom has confirmed that Ukraine has indeed paid its gas bill for January (around $780 million). The Gazprom-led consortium working on a liquefied natural gas project in the Shtokman may hold off until gas demand revives – a surge in domestic production is currently matching US needs. Garry Kasparov is dismissive of Russia’s focus on relations with the East, but Asia is a key client for Russia’s energy services, whose demand could reach the same level as that of Europe, according to Gazprom’s chief executive. Canada’s Center for International Governance Innovation thinks that a nuclear energy renaissance is unlikely. Italy’s ENI is attempting to appease antitrust regulators by offering to sell $2 billion worth of its pipeline assets, although the buyer would be the Italian state, and such a sale, says ENI’s chief executive, would therefore only help to tighten its grip.