“Croatia has begun constructing its liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal, which will be completed by January 2021, meaning that from that point in time the physical opportunity will exist for Hungary to purchase liquid natural gas from Qatar”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a telephone statement to Hungarian news agency MTI from Doha on Tuesday.

He added that the opportunity to transport gas to Hungary from Croatia will already be available from the end of this year. The Minister said that cooperation with Qatar will fundamentally transform the security of Central Europe’s gas supply. “These countries can currently only acquire natural gas from a single source, but Qatar has become the world’s number one exporter of liquid natural gas, exporting over 100 billion cubic metres each year, and the country plans to increase its LNG exports to 145 billion cubic metres in the upcoming years”, the Minister said.

“Qatar has expressed its clear openness to beginning negotiations with Hungary on gas shipments to Hungary via Croatia. Qatari gas could also appear on the Hungarian market from 2021, contributing to the security of Hungary’s natural gas supply and pushing prices even lower”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined. “The more sources we can acquire gas from, the greater our security, and the cheaper we can procure natural gas”, the Minister explained.

Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that the annual capacity of the Croatian LNG terminal will by 2.7 billion cubic metres, while the capacity of the interconnector established on the Croatian-Hungarian border is 1.6 billion cubic metres, which is a significant amount in comparison to Hungary’s annual consumption of 9.5 billion cubic metres. “We will be able to add this 1.6 billion cubic metres of capacity to the Hungarian energy mix from January 2021”, he stated.

Mr. Szijjártó explained that cooperation with Qatar extends to several areas: Hungarian audio-visual technology will be used in several studios during preparations for the FIFA World Cup, and Hungarian producers are exporting 140-150 tons of cheese and milk products to Qatar. “Supplying drinking water is also a challenge in Qatar, with relation to which there is an opportunity for the use of Hungarian water management technologies”, he added.

The Minister pointed out that the text of the bilateral investment protection agreement between the two countries has been successfully agreed upon, meaning it can soon be signed, making both mutual investments and trade significantly easier. “Qatar’s investment fund is one of the world’s largest, and the Hungarian investment environment has clearly drawn the attention of potential Qatari investors”, Mr. Szijjártó said, highlighting the fact that several investors from Qatar are already present on the Hungarian and Budapest property market, and further investments are planned.

During his visit to Qatar, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade met with President of the Qatar Investment Authority Mansour Ibrahim al-Mahmoud, Minister for Energy and Industry Saad Serida al-Kaabi, Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al Mureyhi, in addition to which he concluded an agreement on mutual visa-free travel for persons with diplomatic passports.