EC clears operation of Hungarian-Slovakian interconnector

Energy Trade

The European Commission (EC) has cleared the operation of the Hungarian-Slovakian gas interconnector pipeline following a change in the ownership structure of Hungarian state-owned Magyar Gáz Tranzit (MGT), which operates the interconnector, Hungarian daily Népszabadság said on Saturday.

The interconnector is scheduled to undergo a test run between March 10 and April 30, however several months may be needed before the pipeline becomes fully operational, the paper noted.

Driven by previous criticism from the EC, the Hungarian government decided to transfer ownership of the interconnector company to the Hungarian Ministry of Interior from the previous owners, state-owned energy group MVM and MFB Invest, a unit of state-owned Hungarian development bank MFB, in August 2014, the daily writes.

Following the move, the EC said it had approved the change as the ministry is not present on the Hungarian gas market, and the ministers can act on their own independently of the prime minister, the daily reported.

Hungarian news agency MTI notes that the €150 mln Hungarian-Slovakian interconnector runs for 111 kilometers and was set to start commercial operation in early 2015. The agency added that the interconnector has a capacity of about 4 billion cubic meters a year in the Slovak-Hungarian direction and about 1.6 billion cubic meters annually in the opposite direction.

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