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Orban Says Romanian Deal Will End Russian 'Gas Monopoly'

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (file photo)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says a forthcoming deal to import natural gas from Romania will mean an end to the "age or the Russian gas monopoly in Hungary."

Orban said on February 9 that Hungary planned to get over 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year from Romania, and, as a result, improve the "geostrategic situation" of his country.

Orban said the Romanian imports were expected to account for over half of Hungary's imported gas by 2021-22.

Orban said Hungary had already built the pipeline link to Romania. He said Romania was constructing its link with Hungary now.

Hungary is currently highly dependent on Russia for oil and gas. Russia is also expanding Hungary's only nuclear power plant.

Hungary was forced to tap into its strategic gas reserves in January 2009 when European gas imports from Russia were temporarily suspended because of a pricing dispute between Moscow and Ukraine, a transit country for Russian gas supplies.

Based on reporting by AP