The government has awarded Gazprom the rights to develop nine northern gas deposits without a tender. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has urged the government to formulate a number of tax preferences for oil producers, including the reduction of mining tax and tax holidays for companies developing new fields. Putin and new Energy Minister Igor Sechin are reportedly trying to refute claims that the country’s oil production is in decline. BP’s Chief Executive will meet with three of the Russian billionaires who control half of its Russian energy venture, TNK-BP, amid speculation that the venture’s recent problems are due to friction between shareholders. Read more on their latest visa issues and staff being blocked from returning to work. Former electricity monopoly UES will sell power firm TGK-7 to billionaire Viktor Vekselberg and Gazprom. The company will also sell its 29% stake in power producer TGK-11 to engineering firm E4 Group.