Russia and Cuba have signed an agreement for joint oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, with Moscow offering $150 million in credit for construction materials. A recent US Geological Survey has estimated that as much as 9bn barrels of oil and 21 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could be found in the North Cuba Basin. The Russian government will not up taxes on natural resource extraction or export tariffs to shore up budget deficit, as Gazprom has ‘promised to make up for’ the gap ‘in different ways’. Surgut suffered an 88% drop in net profit between the first and second quarter. Shell’s profits in the second quarter fell 67%, to $3.8 billion from $11.6 billion, on the previous year. Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., or ‘Taqa’ as it is known, has bought Holland-based Royal DSM at an enterprise value of $404 million. Russia will apparently stage a parachute drop into the North Pole next year, on a ‘peaceful mission‘, but one that will doubtless raise eyebrows among the international community wary of the state’s claims on the Arctic zone.