Hungary and natural gas are not very compatible it seems. Since the start of the energy crisis, the country has been struggling with its supplies. This week, Hungary had to start using its stored gas, instead of using imports. Even by now, the level of stored gas had fallen to about 87 percent, which is the second lowest level in the European Union.
As the cold weather approaches gas consumption increases. Hungary has the capacity to store about 6.4 billion cubic metres of gas and it still has 6 billion left according to Népszava.hu. The worst place goes to Latvia, where the storage facilities are only filled to 60 percent. The peak amount of gas was reached this week and it will only go down from here most likely. Although the percentage might seem high, it is the second lowest amount in the European Union. The European Union has the capacity to store hundreds of millions of cubic metres of natural gas and 96 percent of it is filled. Belgium reached the highest percentage with 100 percent.
The government did not yet report anything about the latest data, so the calculations are based on international sources. The government usually emphasises the percentage of the stored amount compared to the annual usage. Using this metric, Hungary becomes the fourth best-performing country in the European Union. The only problem is that the country has only 54 percent of its annual usage stored currently, while Lativa, for example, stands at 125 percent.
The current situation is extremely interesting as Hungary went against the rest of the EU and kept buying gas from Russia. This was not a good deal, as the prices soared and in the end, Hungary had to pay more. In previous years, the government filled up the storage facilities to about 97 percent. By now only the TurkStream operates, through which it can buy natural gas from Russia. The taps were closed for all other countries or they shut those themselves.
The Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (MEKH) said that compared with the country’s annual consumption the storage units are 54 percent full which is 26 percent above the European Union average. Currently, this is enough to satisfy residential gas consumption. The European Union’s regulations state that Hungary must store 35 percent of its five-year average consumption by 1 November, which it has exceeded. Therefore, there is no imminent danger.
Only Viktor Orbán voted against the common help-out framework, as the country supposedly does not want to help others. However, looking at the data, it is Hungary who might get in trouble and might need the help of other member states.