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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó discussed the opportunity to diversify Hungary’s gas imports with United States Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in Washington, DC. Szijjártó said he had asked Perry to intercede with ExxonMobil with the aim of starting offshore production in Romania with Austrian partner OMV. If Hungary can buy gas from fields in the Black Sea, it would be a significant opportunity to diversify the country’s gas supply, he added.

Hungary has taken all necessary steps in the interest of reducing its dependence on gas from Russia, practically the country’s only foreign source of supply at present, Szijjártó said. The next step toward diversification depends on one of Hungary’s NATO allies and on a fellow European Union member state, he added. It is in Hungary’s strategic interest for the consortium of ExxonMobil and OMV to start gas production in the Black Sea and for that gas to be made available to Hungary to buy, he said. The gas could be delivered through a pipeline Romania has already started to build and enter Hungary through an interconnector that is being made bidirectional, he added.

Szijjártó said he had met with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell in Washington as well as a number of visiting foreign ministers, among them Ivica Dačić from Serbia, Mevlüt Çavușoǧlu from Turkey, Pavlo Klimkin from Ukraine, Igor Crnadak from Bosnia, Mohammed Ali al-Hakim from Iraq and Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa from Bahrain.