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Soviet Union


Although oil pipelines were first laid in Baku in 1872, the use of pipelines to move liquids and gas over long distances was essentially a post-World War II development, with most use occurring since 1970. In 1988 about 95 percent of crude oil and over 20 percent of refined petroleum products, as well as nearly 100 percent of natural gas, were shipped by pipeline. In 1986 almost 653 million tons originated of crude oil and refined petroleum products were transported by a large-diameter pipeline network of 81,500 kilometers. About 616 billion cubic meters of natural gas entered the 185,000-kilometer gas pipeline system in 1986. Other products shipped by pipelines included chemicals, petrochemicals, salts, coal, ores, and construction minerals.

The main oil pipelines were relatively new and of large diameter--1,020 and 1,220 millimeters. About 65 percent of the oil pipelines, however, were of medium diameter--530 and 820 millimeters or smaller. They linked oilfields with refineries, and in turn the refineries were linked with main user areas or export outlets, such as the port of Ventspils on the Baltic or the towns of Brest (near the border with Poland) and Uzhgorod (near the borders with Czechoslovakia and Hungary).

The major gas pipelines ran from the principal natural gas producing regions of Central Asia, western Siberia (twelve largediameter lines), and the Volga-Ural, Baku, and North Caucasus regions to major domestic and foreign industrial zones (see fig. 22). Natural gas pipelines were of 1,420 millimeter, 1,220 millimeter, 1,020 millimeter, and smaller diameters, the latter representing just over half the total length.

Among the better known pipelines were the Northern Lights line from the Komi petroleum deposit to Brest on the Polish border, the Soiuz line running from Orenburg to Uzhgorod near the Czechoslovak and Hungarian borders, and the Export pipeline from the Urengoy gas field to L'vov and thence to West European countries, including Austria, Italy, West Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The 1,420-millimeter Export pipeline was 4,451 kilometers long. It crossed the Ural and Carpathian mountains and almost 600 rivers, including the Ob', Volga, Don, and Dnepr. It had 41 compressor stations and a yearly capacity of 32 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Data as of May 1989