Russia’s energy market is Vladimir Putin’s ‘personal project’, and the New York Times charts his involvement with the South Stream project over the last few years. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on all EU members to give their full backing to the planned Nord Stream gas pipeline, saying that ‘the European Union must be more independent and crisis-resistant’. The European Commission has pledged to give the Nabucco Pipeline €250 million to help it do just that, but will it be enough? The Commission has also proposed to invest €5 billion in various other energy and broadband infrastructure projects, including pipelines. Royal Dutch Shell has reported a massive drop in fourth-quarter net profits on the back of plummeting oil prices.