Hungary halts Ukraine gas supply for 'technical reasons'

Energy Trade

Hungary’s gas pipeline network operator FGSZ announced late yesterday that it has indefinitely suspended gas supply to bordering Ukraine, saying that the gas was shut off for technical reasons. Naftogaz, the gas firm owned by the Ukrianian state, said the move was “unexpected and unexplained”.

The gas transmission through the “Testvériség” [Brotherhood] pipeline was halted at 6 pm on September 25 for an indefinite period, according to reports.

Naftogaz highlighted that the action followed the meeting between Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller and Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán. "It comes only hours before the next trilateral meeting between Ukraine, Russia and the EC, which is due to start on Friday morning in Berlin," Naftogaz added.

During the conflict in the Ukraine, Russia has continued gas supplies to Europe through a pipeline that passes through Ukraine and reaches Hungary. But that supply is not intended for Ukraine, and that country mainly receives gas that is received in Hungary and then sent back to Ukraine.

A few hours after the shutoff, Orbán recorded an interview about gas supplies that was aired today on Hungarian public radio. In the interview, the prime minister said that, during his meeting with Miller, the Gazprom chief ensured that an increased gas supply was granted for Hungary.

Yet, given that the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its consequences are worsening, Hungary should be prepared for the worst as far as gas supplies go. According to Orbán, the country should be secured by both in a military sense – which was taken care of at the latest NATO summit – and also in an economic sense.

To that end, the prime minister noted on the radio, Hungarian gas reserves are filled up at almost 60%, and as Russia is increasing gas flows to Hungary, the reserves will soon be at a sufficient level.

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