First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov has declared that the EU and U.S.backed Nabucco gas pipeline is no rival to Russian pipeline projects, and is more likely to end up ‘an empty memorial to certain ambitions‘. This week Medvedev will visit Germany where it is likely he will discuss Nord Stream. ‘There are two outstanding issues: Sweden and Denmark’ says the Kremlin’s chief foreign policy aide, Sergei Prikhodko, but otherwise, ‘we have a rather high degree of understanding with the Germans on the issue’. The lawyer for Shalva Chigirinsky, former shareholder of Sibir Energy, has claimed that state lender Sberbank wanted a $60 million ‘premium’ for providing Sibir Energy with a $192 million loan. Chigirinsky is fighting to retain his 23% stake. PetroChina has begun to expand its Liaoyang refinery in northeastern China in order to be able to receive more imports from Russia. The Economist has an in-depth look at the company which will benefit from ExxonMobil’s initial $300 million investment in turning algae into biofuels, biochemical engineering firm Synthetic Genomics.