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Russia and Hungary sign gas pipeline deals

Russia and Hungary sign gas pipeline deals

Hungary and Russia signed deals Tuesday spelling out their cooperation in building a new natural gas pipeline that strengthens Russia's domination of European energy supplies.
Russia's state-controlled gas supplier Gazprom and Hungary's development bank agreed to set up a joint venture on building the Hungarian leg of the South Stream pipeline that would bring gas from the Caspian Sea region to Europe.
Under a separate agreement, Gazprom will participate in the construction of an underground gas storage facility in Hungary, which would turn the EU member into a major hub for Russian supplies.
The deals were signed following talks between the countries' prime ministers, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Hungary's Ferenc Gyurcsany.
By pushing forward with South Stream, Russia is seeking to undercut an alternative project, the Nabucco pipeline, which has been backed by the United States and the European Union as a way to ease Europe's reliance on Russia for energy.
Gyurcsany, however, stressed that Hungary favors multiple pipelines to Europe. His country also is participating in the construction of Nabucco, which would deliver gas from the Caspian and potentially Central Asia westward through Bulgaria, bypassing Russia.
"We cannot be happy with having just one salesman," he said following the talks with Putin. "We have both Nabucco and South Stream on our agenda, and we are also searching for other potential sources."
Putin scoffed at Europe's aim of filling Nabucco with gas from Central Asian countries, which now sell mainly to Russia.
"They are happy to sell that gas to us," Putin said. "A question arises of whether it's necessary to build another pipeline if we already have a well-functioning gas transport system. I think the answer is no."
South Stream, which will go through Hungary after crossing Bulgaria and Serbia, is on track to begin operating by Dec. 31, 2015, he said. It is expected to have a capacity of 31 billion cubic meters per year, of which at least 10 billion cubic meters will be pumped through Hungary.
Putin said despite the global financial crisis, there were no problems with funding for the


Updated : 2020-12-03 18:37 GMT+08:00