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Agreement reached on Russian gas deliveries to Hungary

Hungary has reached an agreement on gas deliveries from Russia for both 2019 and 2020, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (left) at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow (photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI).

Orbán said he had asked President Putin to seriously consider extending the path of the TurkStream (Turkish Stream) natural gas pipeline into his country and further into Europe. TurkStream, which replaced the cancelled South Stream project, is currently under construction, extending from Russia across the Black Sea to Turkey.

Meanwhile in Hungary, work on the upgrade of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant is progressing well, Orbán said. Russia is financing a large part of the addition of two reactors at the plant, Hungaryʼs sole source of commercial nuclear power, and Russiaʼs Rosatom is the general contractor for the project.

Orbán also said he had urged the launch of a direct flight between Budapest and the city of Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó confirmed earlier Tuesday that Russiaʼs Gazprom had agreed to start talks with Hungary on gas deliveries for 2020. Hungary plans to buy about 4.1 billion cubic meters of gas from Gazprom, he added.

MTI noted that Szijjártó was scheduled to meet on Monday with Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom, a day ahead of the official visit by Orbán.

Hungaryʼs long-term contract for gas deliveries from Russia runs until 2021. Szijjártó acknowledged that much of Hungaryʼs energy supply comes from Russia.

"We are not in the position, as are others an ocean away, to say we donʼt have to talk with the Russians," he remarked.

Gas consumption in Hungary amounted to 10.3 bln cubic meters last year, according to data from the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (MEKH).  

Szijjártó added that talks on boosting Hungaryʼs role in the Moscow-based International Investment Bank (IIB) are at an advanced stage. The IIB is involved in Hungarian projects worth about EUR 70 million at present, he noted.