The vice-president of the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan has said that European energy firms must forget their rivalries if they wish to prevent Gazprom from buying up excess natural gas from the western Caspian area. President Obama hopes to ‘work closely with Azerbaijan’ and has pledged to boost cooperation in the Caspian region, as Washington seeks a ‘southern energy corridor’ to Europe that bypasses Russia. Gas supplies from Poland to Russia have been reestablished after a deal was made between Poland’s PGNiG and Gazprom’s trading unit. The CEO of Gazprom has stated that even if Ukraine fails to pay its bills the company will continue to supply gas. TNK-BP has apparently started commercial development of the northern block of the Kamennoye oil field, which should significantly increase Russia’s oil production. Putin is expected to push for approval of the Nord Stream pipeline at his upcoming visit to Finland. Somewhat surprisingly, given their recent spat over loans, Belarus has asked Russia again for aid, this time for a $9 billion loan to fund a nuclear power plant and corresponding infrastructure.