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updated: 2/9/2018 9:38 AM

Hungary says Romanian gas deal would end Russia's monopoly

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BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Hungary's prime minister says a forthcoming deal to import natural gas from neighboring Romania means that the "age of the Russian gas monopoly in Hungary is ending."

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday that Hungary plans to get over 4 billion cubic meters (141 billion cubic feet) of natural gas a year from Romania, putting his country in a new and more favorable "geostrategic situation."

Speaking after a joint meeting with Serbian government representatives, Orban said the Romanian imports are expected to account for over half of Hungary's imported gas by 2021-2022.

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

Orban also praised Serbia's "exemplary" policies on minority communities, including the ethnic Hungarian population of about 250,000.

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