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Gazprom and Norsk Hydro Bosses Discuss North-European Gas Pipeline Project - 21 March, 2003

Gazprom chairman Alexei Miller and Eivind Reiten, the president and chief executive officer of Norwegian energy company Norsk Hydro, yesterday discussed issues relating to the development of the European gas market at a meeting in Moscow. They also discussed the prospects for implementing the North-European Gas Pipeline project and developing the Shtokmanovskoye gas field. According to Gazprom's press office, Miller and Reiten also discussed the prospects for cooperation between the two companies in exchange operations to supply gas to the West.

Norsk Hydro was founded in 1905. The companies main operations are oil and gas extraction, and mining light metals and minerals. Norsk Hydro has extensive experience of developing shelf fields in northern seas.

The construction project envisages a pipeline being laid along the Baltic Sea floor to Europe, with undersea taps being constructed to supply gas to the Kaliningrad Region, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. The project is also intended to supply gas to the UK. The pipeline will directly connect Russia's gas transportation system with the European gas network. Initially the pipeline will be supplied by the Nadym-Pur-Tazovsky field (in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District), and in the future by the Ob-Taz Bay field (in the Yamal area) and the Shtokmanovskoye field. Natural gas supplies are planned to begin in 2007, with full capacity being reached in 2009. The total cost of the project is approximately USD 6 billion and it will be financed partly by Gazprom and partly by major international energy companies.

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