LUKoil has announced its withdrawal from an oil project in Iran because of US sanctions against Tehran, although apparently the company hopes to return eventually. LUKoil envisages spending as much as $8.5 billion a year on re-enforcing domestic production and increasing output from foreign fields. According to the New York Times, Russia and China pressed Iran to accept a UN proposal on its nuclear program, but Tehran refused. Video here about the planned ConocoPhillips’ sale of half of its stake in LUKoil. Reports suggest that Russia is unlikely to make concessions to Ukraine in today’s meeting to discuss lowering gas prices. This article suggests that even partial control of Kiev’s pipelines could ‘eliminate the need for Russia to build a costly new pipeline under the Black Sea […] called South Stream’. At Prime Minister Putin’s talks with Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, the Russian Prime Minister suggested that Russia and Qatar coordinate on hydrocarbons. Putin is hoping that the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) will become a useful organ for coordinating the gas industry.