Vladimir Putin has prompted outcry in Ukraine after he expressed in an ‘impromptu way’ the idea of a ‘merger’ between Naftogaz Ukrainy and Gazprom, which would place Ukraine’s pipelines under Russian control (with some saying ‘takeover’ would be a more appropriate term). The Ukrainian opposition is apparently fuming over the proposal, which one energy expert calls ‘extremely dangerous’ for Ukraine. Russia offered its neighbor a $1 billion discount on nuclear fuel and collaborations in atomic power technology as the two countries supposedly gain complicity under new President Viktor Yanukovych. ‘A difficult political test’ for Obama suggests the Times as the Deepwater oil crisis swells. Was BP cutting corners? But one question that the company’s chief executive Tony Hayward will have to face, this article suggests, as the possibility of criminal prosecution also looms. Is Wall Street over-disciplining the companies involved in the spill? Egypt reportedly plans to construct its largest-ever oil refinery with Chinese funds. Apparently propitious oil deposits have been discovered in the Altyguy field in Turkmenistan. Reuters looks at some possibilities regarding North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s visit to China – could the regime’s nuclear ambitions be tempered?