Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced that his deputy, Igor Sechin, will manage a multibillion-dollar project to give Russia a modern fleet of ships for its “flourishing” energy sector. High oil prices are putting a strain on US oil refiners, forcing them to cut production rates. BP’s Russian venture, TNK-BP, says court action by a small Moscow brokerage has stopped it from using key specialist staff. Zarubezhneft has confirmed plans to join forces with Vietnam’s state-owned oil producer, PetroVietnam, in developing Arctic fields in Russia. Ukraine’s energy costs are now “significantly higher than for Russian peers, but most have retained a competitive edge over European counterparts”. The European Commission has ordered an in-depth investigation into plans by Norway’s StatoilHydro to buy 274 automated petrol stations in Norway, Sweden and Denmark from ConocoPhillips.