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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 19, 2004. /RIA NOVOSTI/ -- The Russian cabinet of ministers has accepted the proposal of the Russian Energy Ministry and the Gazprom Company to project building of the North European gas pipeline. On Friday Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov signed the proper instructions, the Government Information Department said on Monday.

    Now, the ministry with Gazprom's participation is to ensure due preparation of the required documents for laying the gas pipeline. The State Committee for Construction and the Natural Resources Ministry have been instructed to ensure conduct of the state examination of the papers to be prepared.

    The operating export pipelines for the export of Russian gas to Europe cannot in full measure meet the growing demand for gas. To handle the problem and increase the reliability of Russian gas shipments, the North European gas pipeline began to be developed several years ago.

    In view of support from the European Community, the largest international energy companies, such as Ruhrgas, Wintershall, Gasuni, Shell, are showing much interest.

    Realisation of the project will diversify export gas flows, directly link gas transport networks of Russia and countries in the Baltic region with the European gas system. The distinguishing feature of the project is the lack of transit states en route.

    The gas pipeline is expected to pass through the Baltic sea from Vyborg /Leningrad region/ to the German coast. The project foresees the building of sea pipe-bends to feed gas to consumers in Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and other countries.

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