Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao have signed a ‘much-delayed’ agreement under which Transneft will supply China with oil via a new section of its ESPO pipeline. A new report from the International Energy Agency shows that global oil output is falling at a faster rate than originally thought, with a 9.1% annual rate of decline predicted if current conditions continue. Reasons for consumer concern over prices: BP’s profits are up 148% this quarter. Russia’s electricity providers are struggling with cash flow problems as customers postpone payments. Russia’s Natural Resources ministry insists that there is no reason why Imperial Energy should not be sold. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants Russia and the US to update nuclear agreements and further reduce nuclear warheads as part of broader intentions to communicate a stronger message of deterrence. Back tax claims on Russneft have been have been cut by millions following an appeal by the company.