One fifth of Russia’s oil exports has been halted due to a Novorossiisk pipeline fire yesterday. Ukraine’s armed investigation of Naftogaz ‘reinforces a view, already widespread in international energy circles, that the dispute at the turn of the year was not primarily about price (as the Russians insisted), nor (as Ukraine and its supporters maintained) about “punishing” Ukraine for its EU and Nato aspirations, but about what money was creamed off into whose pockets’ (from The Independent). China is reportedly in the process of creating stockpiles of strategic raw materials, including oil, taking advantage of prices being at a seven-year low. China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation will begin operating its first refinery in Guangdong province later this month. Denis Morozov may step into the role at TNK-BP vacated by Robert Dudley last year. Rosneft has reported a 64% profit drop in the fourth quarter.