It is in Hungary’s interest to participate in the construction of other gas pipelines in addition to the South Stream and Nabucco pipelines in order to increase the country’s energy security, Transportation, Telecommunications and Energy Affairs Minister Csaba Molnár said on Wednesday.
Speaking before a parliamentary committee about a Russian-Hungarian agreement on the South Stream pipeline signed in Moscow last week, Molnár said that due to the EU’s higher energy consumption and decreasing gas extraction, energy demand in the region will increase 50% in the next three decades.
This means that Europe has to find other gas pipelines, because the Nabucco pipeline, which will have capacity to transport 30 billion cubic meters of gas, will not be able to cover the EU’s expected import demand of 180 billion cubic meters of gas 30 years from now.
Molnár said Hungary still considers Nabucco to be the “number-one priority,” but the country also supports South Stream, which carries a lower political risk. Molnár noted that agreements on the establishment of a 50-50% joint venture to build the Hungarian section of Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline and on the development of a gas storage facility were signed in Moscow the week before.
The project could take a genuine start only after the completion of a feasibility study the Hungarian part of which must be completed no later than December 31, 2009. A similar study must be made by Gazprom for the entire pipeline by June 30, 2010. Molnár added that the pipeline will start operating in 2015, at the earliest.
Molnár said oil company MOL is the only Hungarian partner directly involved in the construction of the gas-storage facility with capacity to store 1.3 billion cubic meters of gas. The facility would provide an “extreme energy security,” the minister added. (MTI-Econews)