“Hungary and Slovakia are preparing together for the eventuality that gas will not be arriving via Ukraine as a result of there being no Russia-Ukraine natural gas shipment agreement”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI on Friday following talks on the gas shipment situation following 1 January 2020 with Slovakian Economy Minister Peter Žiga in Beijing.

Following the meeting, Mr. Szijjártó explained: “For the moment there is no gas transit agreement between Ukraine and Russia for the period beginning on 1 January 2020, and accordingly a situation could easily develop in which shipments of natural gas from Russia do not arrive in either Hungary or Slovakia, and this is something we must prepare for”.

The Minister said he and Peter Žiga had agreed to prepare for this eventuality together. As a possible scenario, he mentioned the possibility of the establishment of a southern gas transport route via the extension of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline through Serbia and Bulgaria, which in addition to providing a supply of gas for Hungary, would also enable the shipment of gas to Slovakia via the Hungarian-Slovakian gas interconnector.

“It is now being proven what a good decision it was to build the interconnector linking Hungary’s and Slovakia’s natural gas pipeline networks”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade highlighted.

Mr. Szijjártó announced that in September a working group will be set up with the involvement of all Hungarian and Slovakian gas providers, transporters and traders to assure the natural gas supply of both countries even in the case of a negative scenario.

He pointed out, however, that he had previously come to an agreement with Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller with relation to the fact that part of the quantity of gas required in 2020, which was supposed to be shipped via Ukraine, will be accepted by Hungary in advance, this year, and stored in its gas storage reservoirs. “However, this only provides a possible solution for next year”, he noted.