BUDAPEST, Hungary, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A final investment decision by the Hungarian government on the South Stream natural gas pipeline is expected by the end of the month, said Gazprom.
Alexei Miller, the top executive at Gazprom, led a delegation to Hungary for a working visit with the country's Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Both sides "mentioned that the project was being implemented in strict compliance with the schedule and that the final investment decision on the project was to be made by the end of October 2012," Gazprom said in a release.
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 could begin as early as December.
Gazprom exported more than 220 billion cubic feet of natural gas to Hungary in 2011. In August, the country became the first host of the planned Nabucco West natural gas pipeline to sign off on environmental permits.
Nabucco West is part of the Southern Corridor, a network of European transit projects meant to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector.