On one side are Tony Blair, a powerful consortium of energy interests, including BP, and the autocratic ruler of a former Soviet bloc country. On the other are the olive growers of Puglia and a comedian turned political maverick.
BP is closer to restoring its operations and reputation in the US after agreeing a deal with environmental protection authorities that it will enable the oil firm to bid for new drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico.
Governments need to deter oil speculators, set aside reserves of crude oil and take steps urgently to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels in order to escape price volatility that undermines stable economic growth, according to a report co-authored by one of Britain's top scientists.
Global greenhouse gas emissions are set to rise by nearly a third in the next two decades, putting hopes of curtailing dangerous climate change beyond reach, a new report by BP has found.
BP has won permission to drill in the clear waters off Greenland, just three and a half years after abandoning similar plans to apply for a licence in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.
Royal Dutch Shell is pressing ahead with the world's deepest offshore oil and gas production facility by drilling almost two miles underwater in the politically sensitive Gulf of Mexico.
The chancellor dashed hopes in the renewable energy industry that it might figure in his talk of more public expenditure on big infrastructure projects.
One of the banks being investigated over the Libor lending rate scandal was behind some of the unusual deals that triggered a separate inquiry into suspected attempts to manipulate the wholesale gas price.
France's new Socialist government has been accused of bowing to big business and the energy lobby after the environment minister was removed from her post following her order to freeze international oil exploration off the coast of French Guiana.