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Energy Blast – April 1, 2009

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants Russia’s participation on the EU mission to upgrade Ukraine’s gas pipeline system.  Dmitry Medvedev says that Russia will find it difficult to consider loans for Ukraine until the row over gas transportation is resolved.  Despite a blast on a major pipeline in Moldova that delivers gas to the Balkans, Russian gas supplies are reportedly still flowing to Bulgaria.  The government of the Sverdlovsk region has sent an ‘unfair and illogical’ letter to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin asking him to lower electricity rates on behalf of Rusal, which currently spends a third of its production cost on electricity.  The Surgutneftgas purchase of a stake in Mol has apparently prompted speculation about Russia’s expanding influence in the Balkans.  The major task for Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama is to confront the ‘urgent security threat’ of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the risk of nuclear terrorism, says Global Zero, a collection of security experts.  Both sides have already agreed on the need to reduce stockpiles.  Could Azerbaijani natural gas be diverted from the EU-baked Nabucco project, and sent directly to Russia?