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Seoul abandons North Korean pipeline plans

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Rising tensions on the Korean peninsula have put South Korean plans to import Russian natural gas through a North Korean pipeline on hold.

Yonhap reported Tuesday that South Korea's state-run energy company Korea Gas Corp. (KOGAS) President Choo Kang-soo said that the increasingly strained relations between North and South Korea have changed the situation and that unless North Korea now specifically requests that the piped natural gas pipeline be constructed across its territory, Seoul will shift to importing liquefied natural gas directly from Russia by tanker. As for the change of plans Choo said, "An understanding has recently been reached with Russian partners on this issue."

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Last year KOGAS announced that it wanted to import 7.5 million tons of Russian natural gas annually starting in 2015 in order to diversify the country's import base and to ensure a steady supply. South Korea had previously relied heavily on imports from Southeast Asian nations but considered other options in the face of steadily rising prices.

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