Uzbek President proposes new gas pipeline

Uzbekistan's president Islam Karimov has suggested building a new gas pipeline in Central Asia with a capacity of up to 30 billion cubic meters.

The planned pipeline could be built parallel to the existing ones to pump Turkmen and Uzbek gas into Russia's pipeline system, which Russia will re-export to Europe.

Speaking during a visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Tashkent, Karimov said the new pipelines would be needed if Turkmenistan started increasing output of gas.

The two countries have also reached an agreement on a formula for the price of gas exported to Russia. This will be the European gas price formula based on market principles. Experts say, Russia's offer to buy Uzbek gas at European prices will double the cost paid by its customers.

They say gas prices to Europe will exceed $400 next year.