At the Central European Gas Congress in Bratislava on 26 April 2016, Secretary of State for Energy Affairs András Aradszki said that the strengthening of the security of natural gas supply for consumers must be facilitated by cross-border energy infrastructure development and access to new sources for the European market.

In his address, the Secretary of State for Energy Affairs reminded his audience that Hungary is committed to further strengthening regional cooperation, particularly the Visegrád 4 partnership, and the development of natural gas infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe. Development of the interconnection of natural gas pipelines in the region may create an opportunity for reducing dependence on specific suppliers. A rational and obvious means for this could be the full development of the North-South Natural Gas Corridor and the soonest possible implementation of as yet unexecuted project elements. The Secretary of State called for the continuation of successful cooperation in order to ensure that as many of the new regional projects as possible can receive funding from the Connecting Europe Facility.

Mr. Aradszki said that Hungary agrees with the EU strategy for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas storage, which was published this year and which aims to strengthen security of supply, ensure diversity of sources and establish market liquidity. He pointed out that on the path towards an integrated energy market the priority of establishing infrastructure conditions must be borne in mind. He said that LNG may contribute to efficient utilisation of Europe’s storage infrastructure potential, in line with the objectives of the European Community and the region, and supplementary to existing sources of natural gas. He said that the pilot LNG terminal in Poland is important, and that, together with a proposed LNG terminal in Croatia, it might give the Central and Eastern European region – including Hungary – access to the LNG market via a new route. Together with construction of a Polish-Ukrainian cross-border natural gas pipeline and establishment of two-way gas flow through the Hungarian-Croatian interconnector, the two facilities may also significantly strengthen the security of supply to Ukraine.

In connection with the proposed North Stream II natural gas pipeline, Mr. Aradszki drew attention to the need to assess how much the project supports European efforts to diversify routes and sources. He emphasised that all new natural gas infrastructure projects need to comply with relevant EU legislation and the Energy Union’s objectives. He added that Hungary is still interested in finding other supply routes and sources and access to other markets.

The two-day congress, which was organised by the Slovak Gas and Oil Association, was also attended by Maroš Šefčovič, Slovak Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Energy Union, Peter Pellegrini, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovakia in charge of investments, and Peter Žiga, Slovak Minister for Economy.

(Ministry for National Development/Communications Department)