Szijjártó, Gazpromʼs Miller sign pipeline agreement

Energy Trade

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó signed an agreement with Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller in Moscow Wednesday on developments in Hungary related to a new delivery route for Russian gas. The pipeline could be completed by the end of 2019, Szijjártó told state news wire MTI by telephone.

Szijjártó meets Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller (Photo: Árpád Szabó/MTI)

“Today we have taken a great step forward with relation to energy security, national security and the economy alike,” the Hungarian minister declared.

Szijjártó was cited by government website kormany.hu as saying that the most realistic scenario for connecting to the Southern Gas Corridor - the initiative of the European Commission for natural gas supply from the Caspian and Middle East to Europe - is cooperation with Russia’s state energy company, which has begun construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. He described the issue of energy security as a major challenge for Central Europe.

“Successfully connecting to the Southern Gas Corridor so that we can also purchase gas from the south is a question of national security for Hungary,” Szijjártó added, referring to the diversification of Hungaryʼs energy supply.  He noted that a gas pipeline between Hungary and Romania is still not capable of reverse flow, while Croatia has still not constructed a liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal. Gazprom, by contrast, has already started building the Turkish Stream, and Bulgaria and Serbia have already signed the necessary agreements on the pipeline.

The pipeline would be able to deliver 8 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Hungary via Serbia, the minister added. Hungaryʼs annual gas consumption is around 9 bln cubic meters.

Szijjártó said earlier that the pipeline would run partly along the path of the earlier scrapped South Stream pipeline. Russia dropped plans to build the South Stream pipeline in 2014 because of opposition in Europe. The pipeline would have delivered Russian gas to Europe via the Black Sea, bypassing Ukraine.

According to kormany.hu, the minister said exports of natural gas to Europe by Gazprom broke major records last year, while this winter the Russian giant’s record for the largest quantity of natural gas transported to Europe in a single day was also broken; on one occasion, 636 million cubic meters of gas was shipped to Europe within just 24 hours, he added.

Szijjártó was also quoted as saying that “despite all kinds of communications hypocrisy, European demand for Russian gas is increasing dramatically.”

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