Hungary could start construction on its stretch of the South Stream gas pipeline within six months and complete the project by 2017, the chief executive of the main Hungarian participant in the project told the daily Napi Gazdaság on Monday. “We could put shovel to dirt as soon as six months from now but we would like to complete the Hungarian stretch by 2017,” MVM CEO Csaba Baji said. MVM owns 50 percent of the Hungarian stretch of the South Stream project, which is designed to ship Russian gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine.
The construction of the new gas pipeline, which will bypass Ukraine to the West through the Balkans and the Carpathian basin, has been harshly criticized and partly suspended by Brussels despite the strong lobby of the Austrian, Bulgarian, Greek, Italian, Slovenian and Hungarian governments. Hungary will host 230 kilometers of the 2380 kilometer long pipeline, which includes a section running under the Black Sea. It starts from the Russian coast of the Black Sea and eventually winds up in Italy.
Hungary wants to speed up the project, but faces tough resistance from some European Union member states. Hungary has supported the pipeline as well as other Russian energy projects, including a gas storage deal and the construction of two big reactors at the Paks nuclear plant in central Hungary. Baji said the storage deal of up to 700 million cubic metres of gas in Hungary’s big storage facilities was a sign of “new high-level cooperation” between Hungary and Russia.
via reuters.com illustration: Map of the South Stream Pipeline (gazprom.com)