It has been reported that Prime Minister Putin has signed off on a plan to build the $3.6 billion Zapolyarye-Purpe Arctic pipeline to new oil fields which could contribute significantly to Russia’s current output by the end of the decade. The Economist reports on why it will be difficult for Europe to replicate the US’ shale gas fracking boom, despite having almost as much of the gas in reserves. Environmentalists apparently plan to solicit oil and gas companies to finance an ‘ambitious and expensive’ plan to tag and trace endangered Atlantic walruses in the Russian Arctic, whose habitat might be threatened by the development of the oil industry. Reuters reports that Gazprom is expected to purchase a Belarus pipeline operator and sign a new gas deal with Minsk today, in a move likely to reduce disruptions to gas supply. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller appear to be optimistic that an agreement on the price of Russian gas will be made by the end of the year. As China continues its hunt for energy resources, the country is apparently poised to take up Canada’s offer of more crude, putting it in potential competition with the US for access to the North American nation’s oil supplies.