Hungarian FM Meets Gazprom, Rosatom Execs in Moscow

Hungary’s minister of foreign affairs and trade Peter Szijjarto held talks with Gazprom’s Deputy Chairwoman Elena Burmistrova and Rosatom CEO Alexey Likhachev in Moscow, where the official participated at the Russian Energy Week forum, MTI reports.

Szijjarto told the Hungarian news agencyʼs correspondent in the Russian capital that Hungaryʼs gas reserves are full, standing at 6.3 billion cubic meters (bcm). Gazprom is also paying Hungary to store 950 million cubic meters of gas for delivery to countries in the south and the west of Europe, he added.

Gazprom earlier agreed to top up Hungaryʼs gas reserves with deliveries it will use only from next year because of uncertainty surrounding a transit contract between Moscow and Ukraine. Hungary gets most of its Russian gas via Ukraine, MTI notes.

Szijjarto said an agreement had been reached on starting firm negotiations for deliveries of gas in 2020-2021.

“Weʼre at the point where we can plan about one-and-a-half years ahead,” he said.

In addition, the minister said Bulgarian authorities have issued a permit clearing the way for deliveries of Russian gas to Hungary through Bulgaria and Serbia.

Gazprom is working with Bulgaria and Serbia to bring gas delivered through the TurkStream pipeline – to extend from Russia across the Black Sea to Turkey – as far as Hungary and Austria. If Bulgarian authorities offer assurances of the quality of gas, Hungary will launch a procedure by October 31 to contract gas capacity from 2021, Szijjarto said. He added that Hungary could take delivery of an annual 10 bcm of gas across the Serbian border.

Commenting on his meeting with Rosatomʼs CEO, Szijjarto said the sides had approved the technical plan for the upgrade of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, a step he described as a milestone in the process of preparing to build two more reactors at the plant.

Rosatom is the general contractor for the project, which is being financed in large part by the Russian state.