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SZIJJÁRTÓ: HUNGARY WOULD 'GLADLY' DIVERSIFY ENERGY SUPPLIES IF IT COULD

 

Hungary would “gladly” diversify its energy supplies, but doing so requires proper infrastructure and the necessary investment decisions, the foreign minister said. These steps depend on Hungary’s international partners, Péter Szijjártó told a US-EU energy conference in Brussels. Fully 100% of Hungary’s natural gas supply is imported from Russia, the minister noted, explaining that this was due to current limitations in infrastructure. He said that while there was “a lot of talk” about the diversification of energy supplies, Hungary had yet to see any progress on this front. Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Szijjártó said energy security in central Europe remained a “deeply critical issue”, especially given what he said was a lack of progress in the investment projects that would help diversify the region’s energy supplies. “Whether we can become somewhat independent of our only existing energy source will depend on our friends who are constantly calling on us do diversify our supplies and our allies,” Szijjártó said. He said the start of the extraction of the Black Sea gas field would depend on Romania and the consortium of ExxonMobil and OMV. But due to Romanian regulations, the consortium has not yet been able to move forward with the project, Szijjártó added. He said the same was the case with LNG terminal being built in Croatia. He noted that while Hungary has made an offer to buy a 25% stake in the terminal, Zagreb had yet to comment on it. Szijjártó said it appeared the Croatian government was tying the terminal’s ownership to the purchase of capacity, adding, however, that the latter was not currently in Hungary’s interest. Szijjártó said the Hungarian government was also looking to import gas via the Turkish Stream pipeline in the medium term. He said that once the Poland-Slovakia gas interconnection project is completed in 2021, Hungary will have physical access to Poland’s LNG terminal.
On the sidelines of the conference, Szijjártó held talks with European energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, United States Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the Lithuanian and Portuguese energy ministers and a director of ExxonMobil.