Gazprom is conducting an internal audit of export schemes in an attempt to eliminate unnecessary intermediaries. Just in time for Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Russia, the Kremlin says it wants Ukraine to stick with its existing gas deals with Russia, although, says Reuters, ‘many analysts believe Kiev’s desperate public finances mean Yanukovich must change a long-term gas deal signed in 2009 by his election rival, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which made Russian gas more expensive for Ukraine than for most European countries.‘ The European Commission claims that the €200 million it’s pledging for construction of the Nabucco pipeline is a ‘milestone‘ for European energy policy. Russia and China are renewing calls to Iran for diplomacy, and for it to accept a UN nuclear fuel proposal aimed at easing concerns about its atomic program. Russia is likely to own at least 51% of the shares in the company building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, says Bloomberg. ‘[T]he prospect of developing a huge unconventional gas source using new technology could render meaningless the decade-long fight for control over the gas pipelines from Russia to Europe.‘ Gazprom insists that natural gas demand is rising. How important is next year’s oil price to Russia’s recovery?