Uzbekistan to extend its natural gas pipelines

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TASHKENT, February 16 (RIA Novosti) - Uzbekistan will dramatically extend its natural gas pipeline network in the next few years, the national petroleum corporation said Thursday.

Uzbekneftegaz said the Central Asian republic planned to extend its export pipelines by 200 kilometers (125 miles) and its domestic pipelines by 445km (280 miles) by the end of the decade, as well as to renovate 900km (560 miles) of the existing lines.

"This will make it possible to increase natural gas exports to 16 billion cubic meters [by 2010], against 10 billion in 2005, and to fully cover the republic's domestic needs," Uzbekneftegaz said.

Uzbekistan is the former Soviet Union's number 2 natural gas producer, behind Russia, with an annual gas output of 55 billion cubic meters.

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