The official heating season ended on 15 April with nearly 3 billion cubic metres (bcm) of reserves remaining in domestic natural gas storage facilities in Hungary. The gas supply of Hungarian families and businesses has been continuous in recent months.
“Hungarian natural gas storage inventories are 60 per cent full, which forms the basis for the next heating period. Traders’ interest in reserving storage capacity remains high. So far, the offered annual capacities have been oversubscribed and the maximum quantity has been sold. Hungary expects the winter period of 2020/21 to start again with near-peak storage capacity,” according to the statement of the State Secretariat for Energy and Climate Policy.
“In addition to stable domestic production, Hungary’s continuous natural gas supply is currently provided from Austria, Slovakia and Ukraine,” said Péter Kaderják, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Policy at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology. “The government is making serious efforts to diversify gas supplies and further strengthen the security of supply.”
Diversification is already underway as the Croatian LNG terminal and the extension of the Turkish Stream will allow Hungary to import natural gas from Croatia and Serbia from 2021 onwards. The offshore gas fields of the Neptun Deep development project located in the Romanian deep-water sector of the Black Sea, with estimated reserves of 42 to 84 bcm of gas could serve as another potential new supply source for Hungary.
Involvement of foreign companies in the Neptun project sparked fierce debates in Romanian politics. The introduction of legislative changes regarding the taxation of offshore energy projects has been widely criticised for potentially alienating foreign investors. But Hungary remains hopeful setting out that “gas transports could start as early as 2024, depending on the success and progress of the Romanian developments.”
Minister of State Kaderják added that the Hungarian government is committed to further improve the security of supply while preserving low public utility costs for Hungarian consumers and businesses.