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Stanford Study: Belarus, Exporting Russian Gas to Germany and Poland

Authors: David G. Victor, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Science and Technology, and Nadejda Makarova Victor
May 1, 2004

In the early 1990s the giant Soviet enterprise of Gazprom began work on a new project to export gas across Belarus to Poland and Germany. Close examination of this project offers crucial insights into the potential for Russia's future gas exports because it was the first (and so far only) large new Russian gas pipeline project constructed after the dissolution of the CMEA system and the Soviet Union. The Russian government envisions that total gas exports to Western Europe will rise to 200 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year by 2020 (up from about 130 bcm today); whether and how such ambitions are realized depends on the practical experiences with this project -- the first constructed in an era where markets have played a larger role than state-controlled financing in determining the size and route of pipelines.

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