The government is to lend its four major energy companies up to $9 billion to help them survive the financial crisis. Gazprom has announced that it has offered to help Alaska develop its natural resources, and has accordingly sent a group of senior executives to anchorage. ‘The timing is as interesting as the visit itself,’ noted one analyst. Stroitransgaz, which is part-owned by Gazprom, plans to extend a gas link from Syria to Turkey with a view to supplying a European project. Syria and Russia signed a €52 million gas deal earlier in the week. New research indicates that the Gulf could deliver an extra 10 million barrels of crude oil per day by 2015. TNK-BP has started commercial oil production at its Verkhnechonsk field.