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    Russia Ready to Support Gas Pipeline Project to Japan Despite No Specific Plans

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    Russia is theoretically ready to support a natural gas pipeline project to Japan, although companies do not yet have specific plans, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Wednesday.

    ARKHANGELSK (Sputnik) — A Japanese construction blueprint obtained by Russian media last week estimated the cost of the projected pipeline's construction at $6 billion.

    "The project has long existed, it is in a permanent state of scrutiny and Gazprom is examining it," Novak told reporters on the sidelines of an international Arctic forum.

    "All projects are implemented by business while the government supports these projects. If there is such economic feasibility, the business decides it is profitable, of course we will support it," Novak said, underscoring that there are no specific projects yet.

    Earlier in the day, Gazprom’s Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee Vitaly Markelov confirmed that the energy company was looking into the issue of the construction of the gas pipeline between Russia and Japan.

    The mutual interest in the project was expressed by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their talks in December 2016.

    In October 2016, the Japanese Kyodo news agency reported citing governmental sources that the pipeline would be 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) long and its project would imply laying the onshore part of the pipeline from Sakhalin to the port of Wakkanai on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The pipeline would be subsequently laid underwater to the city of Mutsu on the northern Honshu island, and then would be extended to Tokyo Bay, according to the same reports.

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    gas, Alexander Novak, Japan, Russia
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