“Hungary and Slovenia are jointly applying for European Union funding for the interconnection of their natural gas pipeline networks, which would enable Hungary to purchase liquid natural gas (LNG) from Italy”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Saturday in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI.

“The diversification of gas procurement sources, i.e. that it is able to purchase gas from as many sources as possible, is of key importance to Hungary. In view of the fact that the construction of the Croatian LNG terminal is currently uncertain, and the price offered by Croatia is also well above the available market price, in addition to which it is also uncertain when American and Austrian companies will begin the extraction of Romanian gas from beneath the Black Sea, there is a need to include further sources of gas”, he explained.

“One possible scenario is to purchase LNG via Italian terminals. Currently, however, the infrastructure conditions for this are not present in view of the fact that there is no gas pipeline connection between the Italian LNG terminals and Hungary”, he stated.

“This is why we have concluded an agreement with Slovenia, because if we interconnect our two gas pipeline systems then it will become physically possible to purchase gas from the Italian LNG terminals”, he highlighted. “Hungary and Slovenia have submitted a joint application to the European Union for the interconnection of their natural gas pipeline systems to be included on the so-called list of projects of common interest, which is a prerequisite for receiving EU funding for the development project”, he explained.

Mr. Szijjártó also said that negotiations are currently ongoing on what capacity the proposed interconnector should be. According to the preliminary demand survey, domestic, Western European and American energy companies are all showing expressed interest in tying down the gas supply capacities that would become available if the project is realised”, he said.

“There is also a true market demand and a true Hungarian supply guarantee interest relating to the purchasing of LNG from Italy, and as a prerequisite to that, to the interconnection of the Hungarian and Slovenian natural gas pipeline networks”, he stressed. “The decision of the European Council is expected in the spring”, he added.