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Russian senators ratify Caspian gas pipeline deal

MOSCOW, December 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's upper house of parliament ratified an agreement on Monday with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to build a natural gas pipeline along the Caspian coast.

The pipeline, which is part of plans to modernize and expand the Central Asian region's gas network, will run from Turkmenistan along the Caspian coast of Kazakhstan and on to Russia pumping 10-20 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Russia's pipeline network.

The pipeline, which Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed to build in May 2007, is a rival project to a Western-backed trans-Caspian pipeline set to bypass Russia, currently the sole re-exporter of Turkmen gas.

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