Szijjártó Presses to Expand Gas Supply, Not Cut Demand

Energy Trade

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said Europe ought to "concentrate on the supply side" rather than cut gas consumption, addressing the fourth Budapest LNG Summit on Monday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Szijjártó said expanding the available sources of gas is "the only solution" to resolving the situation in the energy market. That situation is "killing" Europe's competitiveness, he added, noting that local gas prices are seven times those in the United States.

He acknowledged the role LNG could play in Hungary's energy diversification but said network capacity would need to be expanded, whether that LNG comes from Croatia, Greece, Turkiye, or Poland, and such developments would require European Union funding.

He noted that Hungary has reached a political agreement on getting 100 million cubic meters of Azeri gas this year and raising that volume to an annual 2 bln cubic meters after a long-term contract is signed.

He said experts are warning that the next heating season could be "far more difficult" than the present one as the market manages a 50 bln cubic meter shortfall because of the absence of Russian gas, increased global demand due to the post-pandemic re-opening of the Chinese economy and limits on new LNG capacity.

Although some people in Brussels may not want to spend any more money on gas infrastructure, Szijjártó said that infrastructure is necessary until new technologies, such as hydrogen, can replace gas.

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