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Piped gas from Russia to boost Britain

Britain is to start piping gas directly from Russia for the first time in 2012, according to the chief executive of Nord Stream, the Kremlin-backed gas pipeline venture.

In an interview with The Times in Switzerland, Matthias Warnig said that more than 4 billion cubic metres of gas a year had already been booked for the UK market through the pipeline, which is due to enter service by the end of 2012.

That is equivalent to more than 4 per cent of total UK gas demand of about 94 billion cubic metres per year.

Mr Warnig said the additional gas imports would help to offset a steep decline in production from the North Sea, which is due to fall by 6 per cent this year.

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