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Budapest not to turn down South Stream project — prime minister

July 01, 2014, 21:23 UTC+3 BELGRADE
“We will not let Hungary be dependent on Ukraine,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Nikolsky

BELGRADE, July 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Hungary is not planning to turn down the project for the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, despite the fact that official Budapest in general supports Kiev, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told a news conference during his visit to Belgrade.

“We will build South Stream, since this project enhances energy security of our country and we will not let Hungary be dependent on Ukraine,” he said, adding that those who sought to halt this project should first offer an alternative solution “how to get fuels.”

Last autumn, the European Commission launched an anti-monopoly probe of the South Stream project on grounds that it violated norms of the European Union’s Third Energy Package. This spring, the European Commission demanded that countries involved in the projects suspend its implementation. EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger even warned these countries of possible consequences.

Despite this, Russia’s gas giant Gazprom and Austria’s oil and gas corporation OMV on May 24 signed a shareholders’ agreement, determining principles of activity of a joint venture, South Stream Austria. First gas through the South Stream pipeline is expected to be pumped to Austria at the end of 2016.

Russia’s Gazprom sees the South Stream project as a means to diversify natural gas supplies to Europe and to reduce dependence on transit countries. The seabed section of the South Stream pipeline will run across the Black Sea bottom from the Russkaya compressor station in Russia to the Bulgarian coast at Varna. The ground section of the South Stream pipeline will run across Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria. The designed capacity of the pipeline is 63 billion cubic metres. The pipeline is planned to be commissioned in late 2015.

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