Hungary is negotiating with Romania to increase the capacity of the gas interconnector

Hungary and Romania are in talks to increase the capacity of an interconnection pipeline to more than 3 billion cubic meters (bcm.) Of gas per year, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Tuesday, quoted by Reuters.

The Hungarian FM stated that the planned expansion of import capacity through Romania would increase security of supply and provide a route for possible future imports from Greece, Turkey or Azerbaijan.

“We are in advanced discussions about a significant expansion of the capacity of the interconnector that connects the natural gas networks in Romania and Hungary,” Szijjarto said at a press conference in Bucharest with his Romanian counterpart, Bogdan Aurescu, without  yet disclosing further details on the project’s timeframe.

According to the head of the Hungarian diplomacy, the interconnector can transport 2.6 bcm of gas per year to Romania and 1.7 bcm. per year to Hungary, which would initially increase to 2.5 bcm per year and later to over 3 bcm per year.

Under a long-term agreement with Russian company Gazprom signed last year, Hungary receives 3.5 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year through Bulgaria and Serbia and another 1 billion cubic meters through a pipeline in Austria. The contract is valid for a period of 15 years. Hungary is 85% dependent on the imports of Russian gas  85%.

In his turn, Romanian FM Bogdan Aurescu said in his turn, after the meeting with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto: “It is a complex situation at European level for which we need to find solutions. Unfortunately, Hungary is much more dependent than other countries on external energy sources and solutions must be found. There is an important concern at EU level – the Empower EU plan, which is currently under discussion at EU level and will provide a number of solutions, but we must continue to increase our interconnection capacity and we discussed today to increase interconnection capacity of our bilateral gas connection project, we need to strengthen our storage capacities within the EU. We also need to find alternative sources.”

FM Aurescu: Trade with Hungary up by 22% last year

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu also pointed out that Romania wants to build a real strategic partnership relationship with Hungary. According to the minister, in 2021 there were trade of 11 billion euros between the two countries, ie an increase of almost a quarter compared to 2020.

“Romania wants to build a real strategic partnership with Hungary, our priorities, parameters, expectations regarding the trajectory of this relationship are particularly important and we have a direct dialogue with our Hungarian partners. (…) We have common interests and objectives as neighboring states, members of the EU and the North Atlantic Alliance, and this becomes even more obvious in the current regional and international context which is a very complicated one”, said Aurescu.

The talks also focused on the visits of Hungarian officials to Romania and the future Summer Camp in Tusnad.

Aurescu also announced that he would pay a visit to Hungary at the end of November to mark the 20th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership with Hungary.

The Romanian FM said it had been agreed that a new meeting of the Joint Economic Commission would take place by the end of this year, showing that the economic relationship with Hungary was growing, in the context of trade of 11 billion euros last year, increasing compared to the previous year by over 22%. “We have agreed that by the end of the year we will complete the project of the Romanian-Hungarian Joint Chamber of Commerce, which will be based in Budapest”, Aurescu said.

energygasHungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjartohungaryinterconnection pipelineRomaniaRomanian FM Bogdan Aurescutrade
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