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Azeri gas to play key role in guaranteeing Hungary’s energy security, says minister

Increased natural gas production in Azerbaijan can play an important role in the energy security of Hungary and Central Europe, but this requires infrastructural developments supported by the European Union, said the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó after meeting the Minister of the Economy of Azerbaijan, Mikayil Jabbarov on Tuesday.

“If Europe cannot secure new energy sources and create new energy transport routes, then our energy supply security will not be guaranteed,” underlined the Hungarian minister adding that the importance of Azerbaijan has increased due to the severe energy crisis.

He underlined that Hungary aims to count on Azerbaijani supplies soon as possible, but this requires substantial infrastructural developments in Southeastern and Central Europe.

“We need new interconnectors and transport capacities must be increased, which requires EU subsidies and funds,” underlined the Minister announcing that Hungary, together with Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia turned to the European Commission asking to treat the issue as a priority and provide support for the developments necessary to guarantee the energy security of the region.

The Hungarian minister welcomed the agreement of the EU and Azerbaijan on doubling gas imports to Europe by 2027 and called it an important task to create the necessary contractual and physical environment to bring gas from through the Southern Gas Corridor to Central Europe. In light of the agreement, Azerbaijan’s gas imports to the bloc will reach 20 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2027.

Azerbaijan’s role as a crucial energy partner for Europe has been strengthened in the past year in efforts to move away from Russian fossil fuels and several countries in the region have already made it clear that they count on Azeri supplies. Serbia launched discussions in December about increased Azeri gas deliveries once the Bulgaria-Serbia interconnector is completed. Romania signed the first individual contract for gas deliveries from Azerbaijan last year. Finally, the commissioning of a new Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (IGB) in October has been also an important step to allow more Caspian gas to be exported to Europe.

The Hungarian government is also hopeful that Azeri gas could start contributing to the country’s energy security as soon as possible. Talks between Hungarian and Azeri energy companies are already underway, the Minister added.

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