Oil in the news:
US efforts to isolate Iran over its nuclear ambitions are colliding with the energy concerns of Asia's economic powers, testing Washington's ability to form a diplomatic coalition and its influence on oil and gas markets. Officials tell that the US is looking at "creative" ways of addressing the energy worries of China, Japan and India -- major buyers of Iranian oil. The US is searching for a viable energy framework that would persuade such thirsty customers to halt planned investments in Iran's energy sector or even contemplate the shock of a sudden break in oil exports. Officials and analysts are sceptical it can be done and, so far, US moves seem to be having the opposite effect.
Venezuela tightens oil grip
Powering ahead with stringent nationalist reforms, Hugo Chávez's Venezuela is showing multinational oil firms little mercy.
Tense relations between private firms and Mr. Chávez's government escalated last week when the government seized fields operated by two European oil giants - France's Total and Italy's ENI - after the two companies snubbed government demands to convert their contracts to joint ventures with the state by April 1.
"This country does not allow itself to be blackmailed," says energy minister Rafael Ramirez. "These two multinational companies resist adjusting to our law. Our sovereignty isn't under negotiation."