It has been reported that BP’s billionaire partners said the company was planning to “terminate at least several members of senior management that were appointed by AAR” to TNK-BP, but other reports say BP denies this. European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson says that the row is creating a bad image for investment in Russia. At a recent meeting at the Energy Ministry, Vladimir Putin warned new private players in the power sector to keep Russia’s interests in mind, threatening that if they did not, “I will take [the profits] from your stomach and distribute them among the poor.” Germany has raised the question of Gazprom’s status as a state trade organization with a trading policy that should be regulated by the World Trade Organization. Gazprom’s asset swap talks with E.ON are progressing with difficulty due to the sharp rise in energy prices. Negotiations between Nigerian oil workers’ union Pengassan and Chevron Corp. will continue in order to avert a strike.