Oil has crept up to $82 a barrel on its 9th day of gains, with the cold snap in the US and the Russia-Belarus dispute reportedly stoking the increase. Belarus has allegedly threatened to halt electricity supplies to Kaliningrad as the spat rumbles on. Reuters quotes Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin as saying that Russia has restarted oil supplies to Belarus, though no deal has been reached as of yet. Putin is apparently keen for an agreement to be brokered ‘soon’. It remains unclear when talks will resume. Reuters has an analysis of the main issues. France’s Total has made its entry into the US shale gas market, by buying up a 25% stake in Chesapeake’s Barnett Shale assets for $800 million cash. ‘The message is clear: Russian oil and gas supplies are a weapon to be used–or not used–to freeze opponents into submission’: from the Trumpet on the ESPO pipeline.