Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó travelled to Moscow on Thursday to meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov asking for additional Russian gas supplies as the EU asks Member States to slash gas use preparing for a full cutoff of Russian gas flows.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister said at a press conference after the meeting that he came to ensure Hungary’s safe energy supply in the coming months.
“Today, there is an energy supply emergency in Europe, but even under these circumstances, Hungary’s energy security must be ensured,” said the Hungarian Foreign Minister.
Péter Szijjartó said that Hungary’s gas storages had been filled to a level that covers just over 27 per cent of the country’s annual consumption needs, which according to him would be enough in normal times, but in the current situation.
The Hungarian government declared a state of emergency last week due to the staggering energy crisis announcing a 7-point action plan to prepare the country for upcoming challenges.
According to this plan, the government decided to purchase an additional 700 million cubic meters of natural gas in addition to the volume specified in the country’s long-term gas purchase agreements. Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó is responsible to secure these additional gas supplies.
“Considering the current market environment it is clear that it would be impossible to source 700 million cubic meters of additional gas without Russian supplies,” pointed out Szijjártó.
He informed that in the coming weeks, approximately 20 million cubic meters of daily delivery capacity will be available on the Southern route and on the interconnector from Slovakia and Austria.
He also mentioned that negotiations have been going on for some time at the corporate level, but a political agreement is also needed, that’s why he travelled to Moscow to close the process and then start the delivery as soon as possible.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the press conference that the long-term gas transport agreement, signed last year with the Hungary will be implemented. Under a 15-year deal with Gazprom, Hungary receives 3.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year via Bulgaria and Serbia, and a further 1 bcm via a pipeline from Austria.
Regarding Hungary’s request to buy more gas, he said that they will look into it. He also spoke about the Paks II investment project that Russia’s Rosatom would like to continue and consider a priority strategic project.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this is the first time that a member of the Hungarian government has made an official visit to Moscow.
It comes just one day after the EU presented a plan to reduce European gas demand by 15 per cent to prepare for an event of a total gas cut-off from Russia.