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Gazprom to bypass transit countries

Gazprom, the Russian state gas firm, announced it was going ahead with plans to build a new gas pipeline to Europe under the Baltic Sea by 2008 to avoid transit fee quarrels with countries along the current pipeline route.

The current Jamal pipeline carries 135 billion cubic metres of Russian gas a year to Western Europe, a figure Moscow would like to increase to 190 billion by 2010. However, because of pilfering in Ukraine and threats to raise transit fees in Poland and Belarus, Gazprom has decided the Baltic route, while more expensive than adding another land pipeline, will in the end prove the least troublesome.

It is not yet known how the decision will affect Slovakia, which transits Jamal route gas from Russia and Ukraine.

Compiled by Tom Nicholson from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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