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Russia planning massive Siberian gas pipeline to Pacific tidewater

Alex DeMarban

Gazprom, Russia's state-owned gas company, is moving ahead with plans to ship much of its abundant natural gas to countries in Asia, creating more competition for the latest of Alaska's long-running dreams of exporting its own gas supply.

Part of Gazprom's plan involves tapping into a new Siberian gas field believed to hold 42 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, more than the 35 trillion cubic feet estimated to lie beneath Alaska's North Slope. Gazprom plans to build a 2000-mile-long pipeline to link that Chaynda deposit in the Yakutia region with Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Russian President Vladimir Putin approved plans for the project earlier this week. Gazprom estimates that developing the field will cost $13.7 billion. Building the pipeline by 2017 will cost $24.4 billion. The company also plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant in the Vladivostok region to support the exports.

Gazprom also plans to build a pipeline to the Pacific from Kovykta, an even larger Siberian gas field believed to hold 88 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Gazprom's total exports are bound mostly for European markets, but Russia has lately turned its attention toward the Pacific, with the belief that its exports to the east could soon rival those to Europe.

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