Pipeline for Western Europe

Go-ahead for the biggest East-West deal ever

Two days before Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev flew to Bonn last week for talks with West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, officials of Ruhrgas A.G., the major West German natural-gas company, gave a boost to the meeting by signing a 25-year agreement for the annual purchase of 10.5 billion cubic meters of Soviet gas.

That accord is part of the largest commercial deal ever made between East and West: an estimated $15 billion plan to construct a 3,000-mile gas pipeline that will stretch from the icy reaches of Siberia to the heart of Western Europe. The venture...

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