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Hungarian FM, Peter Szijjarto, accuses Romania of endangering energy security in the region

Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, has accused Romania 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, according to the MTI, quoted by hotnews.ro. 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 on Wednesday.

“In addition, international pressure must be exerted to ensure the construction of LNG terminals in Central Europe,” the Hungarian Foreign Minister said.

Szijjarto is in the US capital to meet US Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, and representatives of the main energy companies and where he delivered a speech at the World Gas conference.

“Until the US or the European Union will provide funding for the development of major Central European energy infrastructures, the prospects for Central European countries to import gas from the US or from elsewhere will remain just a dream. This is why it is important to put an end to the use of double language and double standards,” the Hungarian FM said.

The reaction comes in the context in which on Wednesday, in Bucharest, took place a conference organised by the Hungarian gas transmission operator, FGSZ – with no Romanian official attending, not even a representative of the Romanian gas operator, Transgaz. Transgas and FGSZ are partners in the BRHA pipeline project. 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.

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.

A controversial agreement

An agreement was signed in early February by the foreign ministers of Romania and Hungary, according to which Romania will complete the necessary investments to export natural gas to Hungary by 2020.

Great quantities of natural gas extracted from the Black Sea will be delivered to Hungary, starting with 2020, announced at the time visiting Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, Xinhua informed.

The Hungarian companies have already ordered the entire capacity of 4.4 billion cubic meters per year of the supply pipeline connecting Romania to Hungary, Szijjarto said.

It is noticeable that there is no mention of the agreement in the communiqué of the Romanian Foreign Ministry concerning the meeting of the two foreign ministers, except that the two officials highlighted the importance of diversifying routes and sources of supply in order to ensure energy security at regional and European level.

Romania has the third largest natural gas reserves within the European Union and new reserves are still being discovered.

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