Aradszki: South Stream the only option

Energy Trade

Hungary aims to start building its stretch of the Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline next year despite European and U.S. opposition, because it sees the project is the only way to ensure supply, a senior Hungarian government official told Reuters on Wednesday. 

Energy affairs state secretary at the National Development Ministry, András Aradszki, also said that Hungary could resume gas shipments to Ukraine from December. The collapse of the rival Western-backed Nabucco project to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, and stalled plans to build inter-connector pipelines within eastern Europe, have left Hungary with no alternative, Aradszki said.

Hungary, which imports most of its gas from Russia, aims to complete the pipeline project by 2017. South Stream is designed to ship Russian gas to Europe without going through neighboring Ukraine.

"The Nord Stream pipeline was built to eliminate the risk from Belarus. This is the same situation," Aradszki said, referring to a pipeline that pumps Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany. "We have had Russian gas coming in with the same amount, so this will only be a different route," Aradszki said, and added that countries supporting South Stream – Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Austria – have asked the European Commission to iron out differences with Moscow on how the project can be brought in line with EU regulations. But he said the talks fell through.

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