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Austria, Russia sign agreement on gas pipeline

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VIENNA (AP) — Top Austrian and Russian energy conglomerates have signed an agreement expressing their commitment to building the Austrian section of a pipeline to supply Europe with natural gas while circumventing Ukraine.

The memorandum on Russia's "South Stream" pipeline was signed Tuesday by Gerhard Roiss of Austria's OMV and Gazprom chief Alexei Miller.

South Stream has become increasingly important to Austria and other European countries after European energy companies gave up last year on building a different pipeline to make the continent less dependent on Moscow by bringing in gas from central Asia.

The 50-kilometer (30-mile) Austrian part of the South Stream pipeline is slated for completion by 2017

It will traverse the Black Sea, Serbia and Hungary. Some gas will be distributed from Austria to other European countries.

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