Conflicting reports are out on the progress of the Belarus-Russia oil talks; Russian Energy Ministry spokeswoman Irina Yesipova has reportedly described them as ‘constructive’, whilst apparently Belarussian negotiators have been quoted as saying talks have stalled. Belarus is, according to Reuters, adamant that it should not have to pay the proposed duties on imports of Russian oil. Ukraine owes Russia $892 million for its December natural gas imports – the country’s energy minister has asserted that the bill will be paid. According to Bloomberg, funds have already been transferred to Russia for the sum, with ‘reliable partner’ Ukraine using currency reserves approved by the IMF. The BBC has an article on Turkmenistan’s new pipeline to Iran, which may challenge Russian preeminence in that sector. Demand for gas in Britain is apparently nearing its all time high, as freezing weather descends upon the island.