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Hungary signs up for TurkStream

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World Pipelines,

Hungary signed a deal with Russia's Gazprom to link the country with the Turkish Stream pipeline by the end of 2019.

“This will improve Hungary's energy security a great deal, so it is in our strategic interest for this co-operation to start," state news agency MTI quoted Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto as saying.

Szijjarto, who is in Moscow, told MTI by phone that he had agreed with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller to join TurkStream with a link that could enable Hungary to import 8 billion m3/y of gas, close to the country's total consumption.

Hungary, which relies on Russian imports via Ukraine for nearly all of its gas use, has sought to diversify its imports geographically as well as by supplier for years.

A southern link to Russian pipelines has long been planned, with a previous project, South Stream, cancelled by Russia in 2014 in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict and EU sanctions.

Szijjarto noted Bulgaria and Serbia had already signed agreements with Gazprom, which stipulate financing to be cleared by the end of 2017, permits secured by the end of 2018, for the gas link to reach Hungary by 2019.

The TurkStream gas pipeline will consist of two branches. The first with a maximum capacity of 15.75 billion m3, is expected to be finished in 2018 and to deliver Russian natural gas directly to Turkey. The second branch is supposed to deliver gas to European customers.

Russia accounts for over 75% of oil and 60% of gas consumption in Hungary, which is supplied via Ukraine.

The TurkStream project was signed by Russian President Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in October 2016. Its total cost was estimated at €11.4 billion (US$12.9 billion).

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