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Hungary may build new gas pipelines to increase import capacity

The Hungarian Energy Office is looking into ways to raise the country's daily import capacity by as much as 20 million cubic meters over the next 10 to 15 years, said István László Balázs, the head of the gas-licensing department. Hungary can now import as much as 54 million cubic meters of gas a day through pipelines from Ukraine and Austria. „Raising import capacity could be solved by building pipelines,” Balázs said in a phone interview yesterday. Potential new pipelines „could arrive from Slovakia or Ukraine.” Hungary uses more gas per capita than any other European Union country except the Netherlands. It imports about 80% of its gas, mostly from Russia.

Adding capacity to import more gas could help satisfy increasing domestic demand, Balázs said. Mol Nyrt, the operator of Hungary's 5,241-kilometer network of high-pressure gas pipelines, has submitted a proposal to the energy office through Mol Földgázszállitó Zrt, its gas transport unit, on how to expand the country's gas import capacities, Balázs said. Hungary has been seeking alternative gas sources and is planning to add more gas storage capacity to avoid future shortages of the fuel after its supplies were cut earlier this year because of a pricing dispute between Russia and Ukraine and a cold snap. The country's plans to boost its natural gas import capacities may be affected by future projects to construct new gas transit routes through the country, Balázs said. Such projects include the planned construction of the Nabucco pipeline, he added. (Bloomberg)