A new pipeline transporting natural gas to Hungary is slated to be ready by the end of 2019, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Wednesday.
Speaking by phone to MTI from Moscow after signing an agreement with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller on the preparatory work to build the Hungarian section of the pipeline, Szijjártó said Hungary’s “most realistic chance to join the southern gas transport route” is to cooperate with the Russian state gas company. Gazprom has already started constructing the Turkish Stream pipeline, he noted, adding that Romania had nor done anything to make gas interconnectors bidirectional and not had Croatia built a liquid natural gas terminal.
“It is a matter of national security that Hungary should have access to the southern gas corridor as well as a great economic opportunity,” Szijjártó said. “Western hypocrisy notwithstanding, demand for Russian gas is increasing in the EU”, he added. Gazprom sold a record quantity of gas to Europe this winter, he noted, adding that the new route would help to exploit Hungarian gas storage facilities and thus generate substantial revenue.
Bulgaria and Serbia have already signed the agreements necessary to start planning a pipeline that can transport up to 8 billion cubic meters of gas to Hungary through those countries by late 2019, Szijjártó said.
“The agreement is a great step forward in terms of national security, energy security and economic development”, he said.