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As a result of its dwindling indigenous petroleum resources, Europe is highly dependent on energy imports, with pipelines being one of the main ways for securing energy for the continent. A major source for this is energy-rich Russia.

One of the pipelines which will link Russia to Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, France and the Czech Republic, is the 1,224 km, 48 inch diameter Nord Stream natural gas pipeline. Another project, the South Stream Pipeline, will deliver gas from Russia to south and central Europe through a 900 km pipeline running beneath the Black Sea.

Europe also has many established major pipelines from Russia, such as the 5,327 km Druzhba Pipeline, which transports oil from Russia to Belarus, the Ukraine, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

In recent times, Europe has moved to reduce its dependence on Russia for energy supply. This has seen the proposal of pipeline projects such as:
  • The 807 km Interconnector Greece – Italy Pipeline, which will consists of a 600 km onshore section from Komotini to the Thesprotia Coast, and a 207 km offshore section linking the Italian and Greek gas networks through the Ionian sea;
  • The 3,900 km Nabucco Pipeline, which will link the eastern border of Turkey to Baumgarten in Austria via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary; and,
  • The 520 km Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which will originate near Thessaloniki, Greece, and cross Albania and the Adriatic Sea before ending near Brindisi, Italy.

Europe also has a wealth of resources in the depths of the North Sea.

Significant players in the European pipeline industry include Gazprom, Transgaz, BOTAS and E.ON Ruhrgas.

Some areas of Europe, such as those with arctic conditions, can present challenges for construction contractors. Thawing of frozen soil as a result of heat conducted from the pipeline can cause the pipeline to sink, resulting in buckling and severe bending. This can be countered by insulating the pipeline, and by raising it above the ground surface on piles. Gas can also be chilled to reduce the thawing of the pipeline’s surrounding soil.
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