RFE/RL examines the viability of Hugo Chavez’ gas OPEC idea – which, it suggests, will face obstacles in the form of pipeline infrastructure and the manifold differences between the oil and gas markets. According to Bloomberg, the Oil Minister for Saudi Arabia says that oil prices will be influenced by economic growth rather than the volumes stockpiled. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin says Russia ‘will bear’ the criticism from OPEC regarding its implied lack of support. Russia has made its first foray back into Iraq in six years: Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko has reportedly reached agreements on the building of two gas pipelines and on Russian involvement in the Yusifiyah and Dibis thermal power plants. Gazprom’s second quarter profits have fallen 45% with the drop in crude prices, as the price of Urals fell 50% to $58.41 a barrel. The company’s CEO Alexei Miller has predicted that oil may hit $100 a barrel next year and has expressed hopes that quarrels with Ukraine over transit will not resurface. The Times reports that BG has made an oil discovery off the coast of Brazil in the Guara field big enough to upstage the discovery made by BP in the Gulf of Mexico, although the oil may be very costly to extract.