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35

Pipeline to ease Europe's reliance on North Sea

The European Commission on Monday hailed the construction of a 300km oil pipeline in Ukraine as a crucial step in reducing Europe's dependence on North Sea oil. The pipeline from Odessa to Brody, which was officially opened on Sunday, links up with existing infrastructure to supply Slovakia and central Europe with oil from the Caspian region.

The European Commission on Monday hailed the construction of a 300km oil pipeline in Ukraine as a crucial step in reducing Europe's dependence on North Sea oil.
The pipeline from Odessa to Brody, which was officially opened on Sunday, links up with existing infrastructure to supply Slovakia and central Europe with oil from the Caspian region. An extension of the pipeline to the Polish city of Gdansk, expected by 2003, would open up a supply for the Baltic region.
Odessa will be supplied by tankers from the oil wells. Up to now production from the Caspian has suffered from severe bottlenecks.
The European Union has been providing technical assistance to the new pipeline and has certified that it conforms to European standards.
"If you take the European Union, the only oil source is the North Sea, which is in decline," an official in Brussels said. "The evaluation which has been done on the Caspian Sea confirms that it could be a replacement. For those reasons this pipeline is strategically important for European energy supply, in addition to the supply of the Russian federation."
Romano Prodi, the Commission president, launched an initiative last year to reduce the EU's dependence on outside energy supplies through greater co-operation with Russia.
The Commission estimates North Sea oil and gas deposits will be exhausted within 25 yeas, while EU enlargement will do nothing to increase internal supply. The Commission is also evaluating industry responses to a green paper it issued late last year on security of energy supply. The paper mooted greater controls of energy demand, more use of renewable energy resources and new import routes for oil and gas.
The Ukrainian project has been supported since 1995 by the EU's interstate oil and gas transport to Europe programme.
Neftegaz.ru