Slovakia, Hungary Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Eastring Gas Pipeline


BRATISLAVA, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Slovakia and Hungary signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to support the planned Eastring gas pipeline aimed at loosening Russia's supply hold on southeastern Europe, the ministry said.

The project will ensure countries such as Bulgaria and Serbia, almost exclusively dependent on Russian gas, can receive gas even if Russian supplies via Ukraine are disrupted.

Initial capacity is seen at about 15-20 billion cubic metres per year and it would be able to carry gas from Russia to the Balkans or from the West to the Balkans.

"The Eastring project will give south-eastern European countries access to so far unaccessible west European markets," Slovakia's Economy Minister Peter Ziga said at the signing ceremony with Hungary's Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Slovakia and Bulgaria signed a similar memorandum last year.

Eastring has been listed among the European Commission's Projects of Common Interest entitled to accelerated planning and EU funding because they benefit more than one member state.

Slovak gas pipeline operator Eustream said in September it expects to complete the feasibility study for the project in June 2018.

Eustream said a rough estimate for the project's completion is 2021, depending on the results of a feasibility study to be completed next June. (Reporting By Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)


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