Vladimir Putin has signed an order cutting the export duty on crude oil by a third. The decision has ‘lagged behind‘ the falling price of oil, part of the reason why Russia’s oil companies are struggling to meet previous levels of output. ‘The EU gets 40% of its gas from Russia, where 70% of the gas fields are already in decline‘. This makes EU energy dependence a problem, particularly for countries such as Britain, which ‘will have to rely on imported natural gas to meet an emerging shortfall in power generation over the next decade.‘ Iran wants Russia to invest in its energy sector, to restart natural gas projects stalled by economic sanctions. Venezuela and Iran are linking up at OPEC to put pressure on falling oil prices. Russia will complete Iran’s first nuclear power plant at Bushehr in 2009, according to the head of Rosatom. Dmitry Medvedev’s Cuban visit could help Russian companies interested in drilling for oil off its coast. The British head of TNK-BP, Robert Dudley, is due to be replaced by Denis Morozov, the former head of Norilsk Nickel, and analysts are wondering how British BP’s interests will fare under Russian leadership.