Hungarian oil and gas company MOL has won three more offshore hydrocarbon exploration and production licenses in Norway, raising the total it owns in the country to 20, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said after talks in Tromso, Norway, on Tuesday.
“MOL will be spending USD 500 million on exploration in Norway over the next five years. The new exploration licenses off the coast of Norway conceal over 750 mln barrels of geological wealth, and the latest Norwegian licenses mean the MOL Group’s global exploration portfolio has doubled,” Szijjártó was quoted by official government website kormany.hu as telling Hungarian news agency MTI on Tuesday, following negotiations in Tromso, northern Norway.
“As one of Europe’s largest exporters of natural gas, Norway could also play an important role in ensuring Hungary’s gas supply in future,” he added. “We would like to be able to count on Norwegian gas in future as one of the new sources of the diversification of Hungary’s gas supply. This requires Central European infrastructure to be capable of accepting and using liquefied natural gas (LNG).”
Szijjártó was cited as saying that his Norwegian negotiating partners are “fully open” to the possibility of supplying LNG to Hungary, either through an expanded terminal in Poland or a new terminal in Croatia.
Speaking at the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromso on the sustainable development of the Arctic region, the minister said Hungary has committed itself to both increasing competitiveness and protecting the environment in a balanced manner.
“What happens in the Arctic region not only affects the Arctic, but the whole world, and primarily Europe. Although a new trade route could open up if the Arctic Sea route become fully navigable, global warming and the melting of the Arctic ice cap and the resulting rise in sea levels is affecting the whole world,” he observed.
During his visit, the minister also met with Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide, kormany.hu reported. The parties agreed that the two countries will mutually support each other’s endeavors within the United Nations, and accordingly Hungary will support Norway’s bid for membership of the Security Council for the 2021-22 session.