US energy envoy: Gas deliveries between regional countries should be enhanced

Energy Trade

Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs CarlosPascual said yesterday, in Budapest, that gas deliveries between countries in central and southeast Europe should be further enhanced in order to strengthen energy security in the region.

Citing the European energy safety strategy,Pascual said that the construction of the South Stream pipeline, which would deliver Russian gas to Europe via the Black Sea, should be suspended until the project did not meet European competition regulations.

Pascual, who arrived to Budapest at the head of a US delegation for a two-day visit on Tuesday, met with officials from the governments of Hungary and Croatia at the Central and South East European Forum on Energy Security yesterday.

The US energy envoy held talks with the representatives of the Hungarian government as well as with Ukrainian government officials present at the meeting.

Pascual said that he and other officials attending the Hungarian Ministry of External Economy and Foreign Affairs-sponsored forum discussed the ways in which gas interconnectors between countries in the region could be made viable, specifically with regard to those linking Hungary's gas network to those of Slovakia and Romania.

After talks with Pascual Hungarian deputy Minister of External Economy and Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjárto said that the Ukrainian situation made all the more urgent investments that would give access to new energy resources or open new delivery routes. He noted that Hungary still cannot import gas from Croatia and Romania through the interconnectors, blaming the absence of some Croatian and Romanian investments.

Pascual added that Croatia could assume an important role in ensuring the security of energy supplies in the region if the proposed LNG regasification terminal is built on Krk Island on the Adriatic Sea.

The US energy envoy named Bulgaria as the most vulnerable country of the region from the aspect of energy safety. It is especially important for Bulgaria to find alternative energy supply sources, but this will take time, he said. He cited a plan at the EU's priority project list which would deliver gas to Bulgaria from LNG terminals in Greece.

Ukraine was the main subject at the second day of the forum, and the goal is to reach, together with the EU, that gas deliveries to the Ukraine at realistic prices be reinstated, Pascual said.

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