In exchange for their support on pipelines to bypass Russia, the EU will propose better trade ties to six former Soviet states in the Eastern Partnership meeting. An agreement on the South Stream pipeline may be delayed as the countries involved are reportedly looking for better terms for transporting gas. ExxonMobil has denied reports that it has made an agreement to sell gas from its Sakhalin-1 project to Gazprom. The EU has agreed to spend $5.3 billion on modernizing Europe’s energy networks, to secure them in the event of an energy crisis. Turkmenistan expects investment in its energy industry to double this year to $4 billion. Despite the country’s failure to pass an oil law, global oil companies, including BP and Royal Dutch Shell, are readying to return to Iraq, home to the world’s third largest oil reserves. The fortunes of British oil exploration company Heritage may be ‘transformed’ by a major find in Kurdistan. The U.N. nuclear watchdog is reportedly going to investigate the discovery of traces of highly enriched uranium at a nuclear research site in Egypt.