Russia will not contemplate merging its South Stream pipeline with the European Nabucco pipeline, as South Stream is ‘more competitive‘ than Nabucco, according to Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko. Meanwhile Nord Stream has secured $5.3 billion in funding. Putin has defended Russia’s claims to part of the Arctic region whilst acknowledging that the UN rules on Arctic claims must be adhered to. Gazprom has started drilling its first well in Africa, in Algeria, in cooperation with the Algerian National Hydrocarbon Agency. Russia may raise oil export duty on its Urals blend by 6% following trends on global oil markets, Ria-Novosti reports. Mr Sarkozy attempts to spread the peaceful use of nuclear power – a risky business? The Washington Post examines two new reports analyzing vigilance about existing nuclear material. Yevgeny Bakulin has been appointed head of Naftogaz Ukrainy. Bloomberg reports that demand for OPEC oil may decrease in 2010 even as the economy strengthens, because non-members will up their production. Could storing wind power underwater give it much-desired reliability?