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Secure gas supplies remain a priority for Hungary

As a result of recent investments, Hungary’s natural gas infrastructure is well-developed, but the security of supply considerations are still paramount for Hungary said Pál Ságvári, Vice President of the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (HEA). The Vice President spoke about the importance of cross-border capacities and the future of natural gas.

Pál Ságvári pointed out that Hungary still receives most of its natural gas supplies from Russia through Ukraine. The capacity of the pipeline is 20 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year, which is twice the domestic consumption, however, diversification of transmission routes remains important for Hungary.

The Vice-President of HEA emphasised that the new Hungarian-Serbian cross-border pipeline will be completed by October this year, which will enable the import of 6 billion bcm of gas to Hungary, in the short term from Russia and in the longer term even from the Caspian region. Hungary has to complete the infrastructure in the direction of Serbia by building a short section of 15 kilometres, which will guarantee undisrupted gas supply even if Russia and Ukraine cannot agree on a new transit contract after 2024.

Speaking about the potentials of gas imports from Romania, Mr Ságvári underlined that the necessary infrastructure was completed from the Hungarian side and the Romanian side also strengthened the pipeline system between Bucharest and the Hungarian border. Nevertheless, due to regulatory issues the development of offshore gas projects in the Black Sea has not yet started. As Mr Ságvári noted it was also in Romania’s clear interest to remove all obstacles and enable the start of explorations.

In the meantime, the EU’s ambitions to shift towards clean energy sources and cut emissions question the future role of gas in our energy system. The Vice-President of HEA also acknowledged that the energy transition and the gradual departure from traditional energy sources will not benefit the fossil gas market in the long run. However, he highlighted that relatively low-emission natural gas could act as a bridging fuel between the world of fossil and renewable energy production in the future.

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