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Viktor Orbán: Hungary wants to increase Russian gas deliveries

Hungary seeks to increase the amount of gas it receives from Russia by one billion cubic metres (bcm) annually, said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after meeting President Vladimir Putin today. Hungary signed a new long-term gas supply agreement with Russia’s Gazprom in October last year.

President Putin underlined that the Russian-Hungarian gas supply agreement provides security and long-term stability for Hungary. He added that it is also important that Hungary buys gas five times cheaper than the world market price.

Under the agreement, Gazprom ships 4.5 bcm of gas to Hungary annually, via two routes: 3.5 bcm via Serbia and 1 bcm via Austria. The agreement is for 10+5 years, which means that after 10 years there is an option to modify purchased quantities. After the meeting, the Russian President said that the Hungarian request is being considered. The final decision is expected to come in early April, but as Putin described the additional transport of one additional bcm of gas wouldn’t be a big problem for Russia.

Putin reminded that Russia has been supplying Hungary with energy for many years, covering 55 per cent of Hungarian oil- and 80 per cent of gas consumption.

Viktor Orbán underlined that given the current energy crisis in Europe, a long-term agreement is particularly important. He reminded that the price of gas and electricity in Western Europe has risen 2-3 times in recent times for households. Hungary is an exception to this, due to the cap on household utilities, that is in place for years. “However, without Russian gas, this would not be possible,” said Mr Orbán.

According to the data of the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (MEKH) on 15 January, there were 2.72 billion cubic meters of gas in the underground storage facilities in Hungary which means, they are 43 per cent filled.

The Paks nuclear power plant was also raised during the meeting. Orbán confirmed that Hungary is moving along the project, claiming that the preparations for the construction of the new units have entered the final phase. He underlined that the Paks project will be a decisive step for Hungary to become independent in its electricity supply. Hungary is counting on nuclear energy as a central pillar of its plans to transform its electricity generation climate-neutral by 2030.

Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó briefed the executives of Rosatom, the general contractor for the project, a few days ago that if the permits submitted get approved, the project can enter the implementation phase in May.

Regarding Ukraine, Viktor Orbán said that his visit was also a “peace mission” ensuring the Russian President that not a single EU leader wants war.

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