Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev has reportedly estimated that the country’s Arctic territories contain up to 100 billion tons of oil and gas, and the government is willing to spend up to $64 million on research proving it. The Minister also announced that the area which Russia gained under its recent maritime border treaty with Norway includes ten ‘very big’ and ‘unique’ structures. To protect Europe against the kind of gas shortages which it has experienced in recent years, the European Union parliament has agreed on a plan to boost cooperation among its member states, to prevent the resource from being employed as a tool in political maneuvering. In a move that could undermine the West’s power in negotiating with Iran, the BRIC nations wish to promote a resolution which would castigate countries that use unilateral sanctions not approved by the UN Security Council. The Russian government is currently considering whether India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp., known as ONGC, could bid for the unallotted Trebs and Titov fields under the country’s strategic resources laws. It would be the only foreign company to do so.