The Russian government looks set to raise oil duty by 39% on July 1. Oil firm Lukoil has announced that VEB has bought up a stake in the company, though it has not specified when this transaction took place nor how big the stake is. TNK-BP has announced that the two candidates proposed for the position of CEO have been appointed executive vice presidents. Following the suspension of gas supplies during January’s ‘gas war’, Europe’s imports of LNG from Russia fell by 35%. Apparently Total is hoping to develop more projects in Russia with Gazprom. Bloomberg reports that Spain is attempting to build up reserves of gas that could reduce European dependence on Russian imports, but their plans are hindered by a lack of pipelines. TNK-BP will hire a large number of foreign staff from outside Russia after many non-Russian employees left the company last year. Poland has signed a $300 million deal with Gazprom for 1 billion cubic meters of gas before September 30. Gazprom expects output to remain low until the end of 2012, and it may postpone the launch of its large Bovanenkovo field.