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Plan to construct West-East pipeline through China

The first "West-East" gas pipeline through China will be built by Russia's Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, and PetroChina, Rosbalt.com reported on 5 July. The agreement, which was signed in Beijing on 4 July for a 45-year term, provides PetroChina a 55 percent share in the joint venture, while Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, and ExxonMobil each maintain 15 percent shares. The West-East venture seeks to develop gas fields in China's Tarim region and to construct a 4,000-kilometer pipeline.

According to Gazprom board Deputy Chairman Aleksandr Ananenkov, the project will benefit both Chinese residents and industry. Initial steps toward the implementation of the West-East project were taken in 1998. Once the project comes to fruition, it is expected that gas use in China will rise from the current 2 percent to 10 percent.

(RFE/RL 16.vii.02)

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