The Foreign Ministers of Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania have signed a Joint Declaration at the Riga summit in Latvia on Friday to build a gas pipeline through their countries to link central and southeastern Europe.
According to former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, who spoke to EurActiv about the project earlier in May, the proposed Eastring pipeline is initially expected to be 832 kilometres long, with the potential to increase to 1274 kilometres in length when it is later extended to include Bulgaria.
Plans suggest the pipeline will begin pumping 20 billion cubic metres a year in its initial stage before reaching its full capacity of 40 billion cubic metres a year and will function bidirectionally.
In a copy of the declaration seen by TRT World, the four countries agreed to consider “the need to diversify sources of natural gas supply and transit routes” with “regard to the support of long-term operability and efficient use of existing natural gas supply infrastructure.”
“The Parties to this document hereby declare their support for the implementation of interconnection and substantial bidirectional capacity of existing infrastructure for natural gas supply on the territory of the Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and the Slovak Republic and for joint efforts to seek new sources and routes of diversification,” the document read.
“The present document records political intent only. No provision of this Declaration shаll be interpreted and implemented as creating legal rights or commitments for the States of the Parties.”
Due to start delivering gas in 2018, the pipeline will connect with Slovakia’s existing Eustream infrastructure and could potentially pump gas to western Europe from sources in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Cyprus and Russia.