The Oil and the Glory’s Steve Levine wonders if Russia’s enlivened energy prospects, thanks to Turkey’s South Stream approval, might encourage the Kremlin to be more hawkish towards the West. The fact that 2011 was a boom year for Russian oil production, partially encouraged by the Fukushima nuclear disaster and disruptions in Libya, meant numerous benefits for the Russia economy, says this article. Hal Harvey in the LA Times provides his guidelines for implementing the responsible use of natural gas. Ecuador’s government apparently intends to invest $605 million in the creation of eight hydroelectric plants over the course of this year, as part of a $5 billion strategy to double the South American state’s generating capacity by 2012. According to Reuters, France’s Total has agreed to pay $700 million for a 25% stake in a shale oil and gas joint venture with Chesapeake Energy Corp and EnerVest in the United States.