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Established infrastructure
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In the last 35 years, pipeline infrastructure has been expanded considerably for delivering gas from Central Asia to other CIS countries and from Russia to Western Europe. Russia is already importing gas from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and these imports could increase to 100 BCM a year by ten years' time.

As far as Russian exports to Western Europe are concerned, whereas just four countries were supplied with 7 BCM of gas overall in 1973, a full 140 BCM was exported to 19 countries 30 years later. Central Asian gas made up 7.4 BCM of this total, and this volume is likely to increase in the years ahead.

Delivering these volumes requires a very large amount of pipeline capacity. The CIS countries play an important transit role in this trade, with the majority of Russian gas exports to the West passing through the Ukraine. Some pipelines take a more southerly route via Moldova to Southeast Europe and Turkey, and others make their way through Hungary to the Balkan states. In 1999, the Yamal Pipeline began transporting gas through Belarus to Poland and Germany, providing an alternative to the route through the Ukraine. There is also a gas pipeline which passes via St Petersburg into Finland. Another major pipeline - the Blue Stream, which crosses the Black Sea to Turkey - opened in 2002 and set a new record with underwater pipes laid 2 km below the surface. Transport capacity will be increased further by the planned North European Pipeline, running from Vyborg in northwest Russia via the Baltic Sea to Germany, with extensions pencilled in to the UK and potentially Sweden and Denmark as well.

 Further information 
Pipelines from Russia to Europe >>
Pipelines from Siberia to Europe >>
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