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Extended pipeline, 10 bln cubic meter gas reserve

Hungarian Minister of Economics and Transportation János Kóka and Russian Minister of IT and Communications Leonid Reyman presided over the second meeting of the Russian-Hungarian Economic Cooperation Committee on Friday. Kóka said the meeting discussed Hungary's possible participation in the extension of the Blue Stream gas pipeline from Turkey to Europe, as well as the possible construction of a 10 billion-cubic-meter gas reserve in Hungary which could be used to distribute Russian gas to countries to the south. Russia's OAO Gazprom and Hungary's Mol Nyrt are to complete a feasibility study on the extension of Blue Stream within six months, Kóka said adding the study would cover the construction of the gas reservoir too. Carrying out the project would take five years and would cost several billion dollars, Kóka said.

Participants talked about plans to turn the rail depot in Záhony, on Hungary's border with Ukraine, into a major transport artery for the East-West flow of goods. Hungarian state-owned railways MÁV Zrt. has set up an independent unit for infrastructural developments at Záhony, and is expecting Ukrainian and Russian investments, Kóka said. After Russia finalized its plans related to the project, which can happen in the next few days, Ukraine will be involved in the talks. Hungary is ready to launch the Záhony project next year, he added. Also on the agenda was a nanotechnology centre in Miskolc north-east Hungary, which will operate with Russian know-how and Hungarian technology. The center will be launched by Hungarian budget funding of Ft 1.8 billion after which it could receive Russian investment and could apply for EU funding. Kóka and Reyman agreed to set up to two new working groups to address issues in the drug sector and the tourism sector. The committee has already set up working groups to deal with issues in the energy, transport and agriculture sectors as well as one which focuses on R+D. (Mti-Eco)