Budapest and Russia’s energy giant Gazprom have signed an agreement on extending the Turkish Stream gas pipeline to go via Bulgaria and Serbia to reach Hungary.

Russian energy major Gazprom has signed an agreement with Hungary to deliver gas via the Turkish Stream pipeline, the MTI news agency reported, citing Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

He said the Turkish Stream branch to Hungary would be completed by the end of 2019. Budapest sees Turkish Stream gas supplies as the best option because other routes, across Romania and Croatia, are at an early stage, the foreign minister added.

“This will improve Hungary’s energy security a great deal, so it is in our strategic interest for this cooperation to start,” said Szijjarto.

The Turkish Stream gas pipeline will consist of two branches. The first with a maximum capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters, 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.

According to Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, quoted by RT on Wednesday, Budapest sees Turkish Stream gas supplies as the best option because other routes, across Romania and Croatia, are at an early stage.

Speaking for MTI after the signing of the agreement, Szijjarto said that laying of the new pipeline will to be completed by the end of 2019.

“Access to the new pipeline is an issue of national security, energy security and economic development, providing for diversification of Hungary’s power supply. Hungary should reach the southern gas corridor, which will offer huge economic opportunities,” he said.

“The demand for Russian gas is growing in the European Union, despite hypocrisy of Western nations,” Szijjarto said, in remarks to MTI quoted by TASS.

The Hungarian minister explained that his country will be receiving 8 billion cubic meters of gas annually, and that it will be arriving through Serbia.

Szijjarto also said that Bulgaria and Serbia had already signed agreements with Gazprom, according to which financing is to be cleared by the end of 2017, and permits secured by the end of 2018.

In its report, Sputnik recalled that was announced in June that Russia “resumed negotiations with Hungary and Serbia about building the abandoned South Stream gas pipeline” – although Moscow said on several previous occasions that it would not revisit the project.

It was also revealed that Bulgaria is counting on Russian gas to fill a gas hub that will be financed by the European Commission.

B92