Environmental polluters (‘dirty‘ metals firms in particular) are going to receive higher penalties over the next decade, says Vladimir Putin, with the charge for ‘negative environmental impact‘ to rise in stages, and cut in proportion to the amount of money spent on environmental programs. Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko says that energy demand has returned to pre-crisis levels, and will grow by 2% this year. And prices could also grow, if the government does not intervene, says Dmitry Medvedev, as analysts suggest that more foreign players on the market could improve profitability and lower prices. Russia’s MICEX activity depends on the price of crude: ‘This is not just because Russia’s 10.5m barrels of production a day is greater than its two Bric peers combined, leaving it second only to Saudi Arabia. It is also because Russia’s energy sector regularly exceeds 50 per cent of the RTS’s weighting.‘ A reported 300 protesters gathered in Bulgaria’s Sofia to protest a Russia-backed nuclear plant. Has the daughter of a Lukoil executive been kidnapped? Surgutneftgas is reporting a 12.7% profit rise for 2010, with a total of $4.49 billion. Oil investors are fearing that the situation in Libya could escalate, if prices are anything to go by. British oil and gas firm JKX has announced that Koshekhablskoye, its key Russian project, will be delayed by three months.