The European Community's TACIS technical assistance programme for the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia is funding the INOGATE programme to improve oil and gas pipelines in the NIS. Projects within the framework of the INOGATE (Interstate oil and gas to Europe) programme will receive ECU 50 million in total over the five years from 1996. The programme aims to support the NIS' efforts to improve the management of oil and gas pipelines. Firstly, in order to facilitate the flow of oil and gas within and between the NIS themselves, and secondly, to assist producer and transit countries to access European markets. In 1996, projects totalling ECU 12 million were agreed. Examples include a feasibility study on pipelines linking Central Asia directly with the Caucasus via the Caspian Sea, and an audit of existing electricity transmission grids and related infrastructure. The third meeting of the INOGATE working group was held in Brussels from 14 to 16 May 1997. The main aim of the meeting was the finalization of the 1997 projects. Priorities include further audit work to identify needs, and urgent small scale repairs in critical areas. Representatives from both producer and transit countries were present at the meeting. In addition, observers from Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania, as well as the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Energy Agency and the European Energy Charter Secretariat were also present.