“The new natural gas transport route to Hungary could be established by the end of 2019”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI from Moscow after concluding an agreement with the CEO of Gazprom on Hungarian development projects relating to the new pipeline.

The Minister told the press that the most realistic scenario for connecting to the Southern Gas Corridor is cooperation with Russia’s state energy company, which has begun construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, in view of the fact that Romania has still not enabled the two-way flow of gas and the Croatian liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal is not yet under construction, meaning the issue of energy security is still a major challenge for Central Europe.

DownloadPhoto: Árpád Szabó

“Accordingly, successfully connecting to the Southern Gas Corridor so that we can also purchase gas from the south, is a question of national security for Hungary”, the Minister underlined. Mr. Szijjártó explained that Bulgaria and Serbia have already signed the required agreements, according to which the financing of domestic development projects must be established by the end of this year and the required permits must be acquired by the end of 2018 to enable the pipeline from Serbia to Hungary to begin operations by the end of 2019, carrying up to 8 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Hungary if required.

“This will significantly improve Hungary’s energy security, meaning it is in our national security interests for the new pipeline to be realised. In addition, this is also a major economic opportunity for Hungary, because despite all kinds of communications hypocrisy, European demand for Russian gas is increasing dramatically”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, pointing out that exports of natural gas to Europe by Gazprom broke major records last year, while this winter Gazprom’s record for the largest quantity of natural gas transported to Europe in a single day was also broken; on one occasion, 636 million cubic metres of gas was shipped to Europe within just 24 hours.

DownloadPhoto: Árpád Szabó

Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that it will be a huge economic opportunity for Hungary if Russian natural gas also reaches Europe via Hungary, in addition to which Hungarian gas reservoirs will also be working at optimal capacity once the link to the Southern Gas Corridor is realised, which will also mean significant additional revenues for Hungary. “Today we have taken a great step forward with relation to energy security, national security and the economy alike”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister emphasised.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)