The designer of the Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline’s Hungarian section towards Baumgarten in Austria will be selected before late October, Gazprom said in a statement on September 22.
Gazprom CEO met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest.
“The talks were focused on the issues of reliable and uninterrupted gas supplies in the coming winter period. The parties paid special attention to the implementation of the South Stream project and noted that it was progressing to schedule,” Gazprom said in a statement.
“At present, a bidding procedure is underway in Hungary for selecting a contractor to carry out design & survey activities, spatial planning and environmental impact assessment (EIA) for South Stream’s Hungarian section towards Baumgarten in Austria. The designer will be selected before the end of October 2014. Hungary will receive first gas via the gas pipeline in early 2017,” Gazprom said.
Orban has repeatedly voiced his support for the South Stream pipeline, saying his country has no other gas alternative.
South Stream in Hungary is constructed on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Hungary. The gas pipeline was granted the status of a national significance project in the country.
South Stream Hungary, joint project company established on a par by Gazprom and MVM is constructing South Stream in Hungary. In 2013 Gazprom and MVM approved the Action Plan regarding the implementation of the South Stream project in Hungary until 2017.
On April 29, 2014 Gazprom and OMV signed the Memorandum of Intent to construct the Austrian section of South Stream with an annual capacity of up to 32 billion cubic metres and the end point in Baumgarten.
In 2013 six billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas were supplied to Hungary.
Last week, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on EU member states to cancel their South Stream contracts as part of a punitive measure designed in response to Russia’s involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
On September 19, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Russia expects to discuss South Stream with EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger in the upcoming trilateral talks.
The Commission has warned Gazprom and EU member states that South Stream violates the bloc’s Third Energy Package, which stipulates that pipelines in the EU cannot belong to natural gas extractors.