Russia's Nord Stream pipeline bypasses Ukraine, which transports about 80 percent of Russian gas exports to Europe, and could give Moscow greater political leverage in dealing with Kiev.
Venezuelan leader recognizes Georgia breakaway states, South Ossetia and Abkhazia as added bonus during Moscow visit.
The dispute threatens to paralyze economic relations.
The Russia-Ukraine gas war has left some downstream nations with only a mild shortfall, but has incited debate on how to secure energy reserves amid regional instability.
The world's biggest suppliers will meet in Moscow on Nov. 18 to finalize plans for a cartel to control gas prices.
Production dropped this year after reaching a post-Soviet high in October. On Monday, Putin's newly convened cabinet made the issue its first order of business.
The intense state scrutiny of private oil firm TNK-BP, now facing an environmental review, echoes Putin-era takeovers. The president-elect is reputedly more liberal.
The energy giant agreed Tuesday to pay 'European prices' for Central Asian gas, where it has long enjoyed below-market rates.