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Energy Blast – March 24, 2009

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has slammed Ukraine’s plan, signed yesterday with the EU, to  boost the capacity of its Soviet-era gas pipelines, and warned that it does not take the ‘basic supplier’ – ie Russia – into account.  He also threatened to review Russia-EU relations on grounds that Russia had been excluded from negotiations.  Russian officials are saying that declining oil income is likely to spur growth in other areas of the economy.  ‘While independent economists have been skeptical of Russia’s chances of recovery without a return to high oil prices, crisis has proved an effective stimulant for reform here before,’ says the New York Times.  Norilsk Nickel shares dropped after a report that Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin is inquiring about the company’s finances.  Russia has agreed to assist Bangladesh in building its first nuclear power plant.  Poland’s PGNiG has unveiled plans to spend more than $1.1 billion to double its gas storage capacity by 2015.