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Szijjártó meets Gazprom, Rosatom execs in Moscow

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó held talks with Gazprom Deputy Chairwoman Elena Burmistrova and Rosatom CEO Alexey Likhachev in Moscow, where he participated at the international forum Russian Energy Week.

Szijjártó told Hungarian news agency MTIʼs correspondent in the Russian capital that Hungaryʼs gas reserves are full with 6.3 billion cubic meters of gas. Gazprom is also paying Hungary to store 950 million cubic meters of gas for delivery to countries in the south and the west of Europe, he added.

Gazprom earlier agreed to top up Hungaryʼs gas reserves with deliveries it will use only from next year because of uncertainty surrounding a transit contract between Moscow and Ukraine. Hungary gets most of its Russian gas via Ukraine, noted MTI.

Szijjártó said an agreement had been reached on starting firm negotiations for deliveries of gas in 2020-2021. 

“Weʼre at the point where we can plan about one-and-a-half years ahead,” he asserted.

In addition, the minister said Bulgarian authorities have issued a permit clearing the way for deliveries of Russian gas to Hungary through Bulgaria and Serbia.

Gazprom is working with Bulgaria and Serbia to bring gas delivered through the TurkStream pipeline - to extend from Russia across the Black Sea to Turkey - as far as Hungary and Austria. If Bulgarian authorities offer assurances of the quality of gas, Hungary will launch a procedure by October 31 to contract gas capacity from 2021, Szijjártó said. He added that Hungary could take delivery of an annual 10 bln cubic meters of gas across the Serbian border.

Commenting on his meeting with Rosatomʼs CEO, Szijjártó said the sides had approved the technical plan for the upgrade of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, a step he described as a milestone in the process of preparing to build two more reactors at the plant.

Rosatom is the general contractor for the project, which is being financed in large part by the state of Russia.