The Independent reports that oil has crept up to almost $99 a barrel, leading analysts to consider that the arrival of the ‘psychologically important’ $100 barrel is ‘only a matter of time’. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Iran’s controversial offer to tour the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities should be welcomed; meanwhile fellow invitee China has said it will be difficult to take up the invitation. The protection of ‘strategic interests, defense capability and state security’ has been given as the reason by the Audit Chamber for classifying the results of its 2008 investigation into the alleged $4 billion worth of economic by Transneft. The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan and the National Iranian Gas Export Company have signed a long-term contract on the former supplying gas to Tehran. Oil and Gas Eurasia reports on the possibility that the Russian-Norwegian agreement on the delineation of the Barents Sea may make Russian gas less competitive on the world market.