Energy Minister, Anton Anton, has given the first reply to the accusations from Hungarian officials regarding the BRHA pipeline and the exploitation of the Black Sea gas.
Present in Bucharest on Monday, European Commissioner for Energy and EC Vice-president, Maroš Šefčovič, has proposed discussions with calm, saying that experts should find solutions agreed by all parties.
In turn, Minister Anton said that “Romania is doing its part in regard to BRHA pipeline, which is very important. All countries involved should work on the project. I believe we need the EC support and I count on this support.”
In turn, the chairman for industry and services committee with the Chamber of Deputies, Iulian Iancu, said: “Hungary tells us there’s no reason to build the pipeline on its territory and waste EUR 1 billion. Bulgaria intends to do nothing.”
Vice-Premier Viorel Stefan said that “the project is ongoing in our territory according to the schedule, the works have started at the beginning of this month. Open dialogue between all interested parties is essential and Romania supports such an approach.”
Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, accused Romania last week of violating international commitments regarding the interconnection of gas pipelines and of ensuring the reversibility of gas flows.
Moreover, Peter Szijjarto said the time has come to exert increased international pressure on countries in the region that are violating such commitments, mentioning Romania and Croatia. Also, Peter Szijjarto said that it is important to maintain pressure on Romania to begin the extraction of gas from its Black Sea reserves as of 2022. The statements were made during a visit to Washington.
The statements came after the ones made, also last week, by the chief of the Hungarian gas transmission operator, FGSZ.
FGSZ head, Kristof Terhes, launched several provocative messages regarding the output of natural gas in the Black Sea, the gas consumption in Romania and the interconnection with the BRHA pipeline.
Let’s recall that in 2017 Hungary unilaterally decided that the building of BRHA pipeline will not go further to interconnect with Austria, as the initial project said, and to redirect the gas to neighbouring countries. Following an auction in December last year, the gas transmission capacity of BRHA pipeline has been booked by two Hungarian companies until 2037, the same source informs.
The FGSZ manager said the Black Sea gas production will reach Hungary, from there on to Slovakia and indirectly to Austria, with supplies to Ukraine, Serbia and Croatia as well. The message is that the distribution of the Romanian gas will take place in Hungary.
He ironically said Romania does not have the capacity to consume the gas from the Black Sea, as there is no petro-chemical industry and the population is connected to the gas network in a share of 30-35%, whereas in Hungary the share is 95%.
“You don’t have petro-chemical industry, you can’t use the gas as raw material. What are you going to do with the gas? Burn it, make a big fire?” Kristof Terhes asked.
He said Hungary did a favour to Romania by putting an end to the BRHA pipeline in the neighbouring country and not continuing it to Austria, as the extension of the pipeline would have cost some USD 1 billion, involving higher transit costs.