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    Ukraine may join Nabucco pipeline bypassing Russia

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    Ukraine's prime minister said Wednesday the government is considering bidding for a contract for the construction of a trans-Caspian pipeline to pump Central Asian natural gas to Europe, bypassing Russia.

    KIEV, January 17 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's prime minister said Wednesday the government is considering bidding for a contract for the construction of a trans-Caspian pipeline to pump Central Asian natural gas to Europe, bypassing Russia.

    Speaking in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Viktor Yanukovych said: "We will be actively involved in oil and gas projects wherever Ukraine's bids win. We will use our capacities and take part in projects like Nabucco."

    Ukrainian experts are exploring the possibility of linking the Ukrainian pipeline system to the 3,400-kilometer (2,113 mile) Nabucco route, to run through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria. The construction of the pipeline will begin in 2008, so that it could go on stream in 2011.

    The European Commission and the energy ministries of the countries crossed by Nabucco approved the $5.8 billion project in June last year.

    Both Ukraine and the European Union hope the alternative pipeline will help them diversify supply routes away from Russia and thus boost their energy security.

    That has been an increasingly serious concern since Moscow briefly cut off deliveries to Ukraine over a pricing dispute last January, and to Belarus in December.

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