Russia is to resume talks with China in an attempt to secure a $25 billion loan for its oil industry. Gazprom may begin an exploration of offshore Alaska with ConocoPhillips. In return, the company is considering ExxonMobil and Conoco for a liquefied gas project in the Arctic region of Yamal. Gazprom is to begin building a direct gas pipeline to South Ossetia next year, saying that Russia needs the pipeline because the current pipeline goes through the territory of Georgia proper. Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive of Gazprom says the company may build three large plants to liquefy gas instead of constructing pipelines to Europe, due to ‘mixed signals‘ about what the EU wants from Russia. The price of oil has fallen to around $50 a barrel, prompting Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko to remind companies that they should lower production if they are not making decent profits.