Western Europe: Subterranean Surge

So many underground pipelines tunnel beneath the sprawling U.S. petrochemical center near Houston that the area has come to be known as the "Spaghetti Bowl." In its own subterranean surge, Western Europe seems to be cooking up a sort of alphabet soup. Ten years abuilding, its 3,000-mile crude-oil-carrying network includes such giants as the 283-mile R.R.P. (for Rotterdam-Rhine Pipeline), the 485-mile S.E.P.L. (South European Pipeline), and the 562-mile C.E.L. (Central European Line). Engineers are now making final tests on the newest, richest ingredient of all: the $192 million T.A.L.

More formally known as the Trans-Alpine Line, T.A.L. is a triumph...

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