BUDAPEST, Hungary, April 19 (UPI) -- Placing national importance on the South Stream natural gas pipeline was the focus of talks with Hungarian officials, Russia's Gazprom said
Alexei Miller, chairman of the Gazprom management committee, led a delegation to Hungary to discuss the South Stream pipeline with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
"The parties reviewed the progress with the South Stream gas pipeline project, highlighting its strict compliance with the schedule," Gazprom said in a statement. "A focus was placed on the issues of granting the national significance status to the project."
South Stream is a planned natural gas pipeline meant to diversify Russian gas export options. The pipeline is designed to carry as much as 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to Europe each year. Construction should begin in December.
Gazprom exported more than 220 billion cubic feet of natural gas to Hungary in 2011.
Hungary was one of the 2009 signatories to an intergovernmental agreement on the planned Nabucco natural gas pipeline, billed as the European rival to South Stream.