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New terms needed to avoid pipes conflict

LONDON, March 9 (UPI) -- New progressive terms are needed to avoid future conflicts over oil and gas transit pipelines, according to a report from London-based Chatham House.

The non-profit, non-governmental think tank said Europe's increasing reliance on transit pipelines for oil and gas has raised serious concerns over the volatility of the diplomatic and commercial disagreements that shut off oil supplies and the potential for an outbreak of violence, Chatham House reported.

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The report, "Transit Troubles: Pipelines as a Source of Conflict," cites Russia's recent conflicts with Ukraine and Georgia as evidence that something needs to be done to avoid threats to European safety and security from pipeline disputes.

Report author Paul Stevens, senior research fellow for the Chatham House Energy, Environment and Development Program, suggests that as a result of the instability over transit pipelines, new and progressive terms over the pipelines must be established.

"Currently there is no objective, reasonable or fair way of setting transit terms," Stevens wrote in the report.

"The only practical solution which offers a serious possibility of reducing conflict is to introduce progressive terms to existing and new transit agreements."

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