Orban wrong about Romanian gas?

According to Hungary’s prime minister, Russia’s gas monopoly in the country is expected to end after 2021 or 2022. The foreign ministries of the two countries gave contradicting statements.

At a joint press conference with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that Hungary could soon sign an agreement on the import of an annual 4 billion cubic metres of gas from Romania over 15 years. Three Hungarian-owned companies are in the top three spots in a tender for the gas, he said. From 2021 or 2022, the era of Russia’s gas monopoly in Hungary is expected to end, as more than half of the gas the country consumes will come from Romania, he said. Orban noted that the interconnector allowing the deliveries is completed on the Hungarian side, but is still under construction in Romania.

On Friday, Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet cited the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In its statement on Thursday, the MFA wrote that it’s not possible for one country to order the entire capacity of gas extracted from the Black Sea, adding that no bilateral agreement about new energetic projects was signed with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto at his visit to Bucharest on Monday. According to Hungarian news site Index, this means that building a pipeline together with Romania doesn’t mean that – as Orban implied – Hungary can get all the gas that is transported through it.

The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade reacted in a statement that after an auction announced by Romanian and Hungarian gas pipeline companies, the whole capacity of the Hungarian-Romanian interconnector in the Romanian-Hungarian direction after 2022 has been allocated to two Hungarian companies. The ministry added that gas will be transported from the Black Sea to several other directions too, through other pipelines, so the Romanian minister’s statement doesn’t make sense.

Hungary Journal
Photo: MTI

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