Hungary plans to start building S. Stream next year

Hungary "aims to start building its stretch of the Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline next year," Reuters is reporting.

Source: Reuters

The country's resolve comes "despite European and U.S. opposition as it sees the project as the only way to ensure supply," the agency quoted Energy Affairs State Secretary Andras Aradszki.

"Nabucco (pipeline) will not be built and after nearly ten years of hesitation, and especially in light of the Ukraine situation, we need to act. This is a necessity," Aradszki said in an interview on Wednesday.

"Everybody singles out Hungary, but we forget that since 2013 Croatia has failed to do the investments enabling the flow of gas from Croatia towards Hungary. The same applies to Romania."

Reuters noted that Hungary imports most of its gas from Russia, and aims to complete the pipeline, designed to bypass Ukraine, by 2017.

"The Nord Stream pipeline was built to eliminate the risk from Belarus. This is the same situation. We have had Russian gas coming in with the same amount, so this will only be a different route," Aradszki said.

He said EU countries supporting South Stream -Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Austria - "asked the Commission to iron out differences with Moscow on how the project can be brought in line with EU regulations," but that the "talks fell through."

Reuters said in its report that "opponents of the project say the pipeline will only preserve a Russian stranglehold on European gas supplies," and quoted U.S. Special Envoy Amos Hochstein as telling reporters during a phone conference on Monday that "European countries supporting South Stream should rethink."


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