Natural Resources Deputy Minister Sergei Donskoi has said that Russia would welcome foreign companies looking to explore the country’s oil and gas reserves as domestic firms lack the ‘strength and money’ to carry out these operations themselves. State-run electricity companies will invest $19.5 billion next year, or 13.5% less than planned after the government approved their 2010 budget, according to the Moscow Times. EDF may take a 10% stake in Gazprom’s South Stream pipeline. Bulgaria’s Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov has said Sofia will demand economic incentives from Moscow to guarantee its commitment to its major Russian-backed energy projects. ARMZ Uranium Holding is reportedly negotiating with Areva to jointly develop deposits in Namibia and other African countries, where one-fifth of the world’s uranium is to be found. The UK is currently on a non-Russian energy push with the Energy Minister apparently espousing Southern corridor options, the Independent reports. The re-election of Norway’s Labor Party led coalition could spell disappointment for oil companies as the administration is likely to uphold the ban on exploring ecologically vulnerable parts of the Arctic.