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Hungary to join South Stream gas pipeline project

Hungary will join the South Stream gas pipeline project, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said at a meeting with his Hungarian counterpart Ferenc Gyurcsány in Budapest on Friday.

„The Russian premier gave us a resolute and unambiguous promise, we agreed earlier that South Stream will involve Hungary,” Gyurcsány said. The Hungarian premier said his republic was „ranked among countries largely dependent on Russian energy supplies.” He also said that though Hungary could see that Russia was a reliable partner and energy supplier, the availability of only one supplier or one gas pipeline posed risks. „This is why our negotiations have long been aimed at alleviating such risks,” the Hungarian official said also referring to two options of finding another supplier or building a new gas pipeline. He said Hungary was also negotiating involvement in the construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline project which will not be entirely ‘fed’ by Russian gas. The South Stream pipeline is set to cover over 900 km (560 miles) under the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria and supply 30 billion cubic meter of gas annually. Possible routes for the land section of the pipeline across Europe to Austria and Italy are still being discussed.

Russian energy giant Gazprom and Italy’s Eni should establish a joint venture to operate the pipeline project by January 15. The first gas supplies are planned to be launched in 2013. The rival project, Nabucco, is designed to supply Caspian gas to Europe bypassing Russia. (