Even in a continent-wide energy crisis, the Hungarian government has a duty to ensure the full energy supply of the country, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said after meeting his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Thursday.
“That is why we decided to purchase an additional 700 million cubic meters of natural gas over and above the amount fixed in the long-term contracts, which, whether you like it or not, would not be possible without sources from Russia,” Szijjártó said.
He added that the gas storage facilities are being filled according to schedule, the level of which currently stands at 27.3 percent of the annual consumption, while the European average is 17.3 percent.
“In normal times, this would be enough, it would provide security, but we all know that we are not living in normal times, so we have to be even more certain,” Szijjártó stressed.
The Hungarian foreign minister reported that all the necessary measures were taken in Hungary to receive the extra quantity and secure financial resources. In the coming weeks, approximately 20 million cubic meters of delivery capacity per day will be available for this purpose on the southern route and on the interconnector from Slovakia and Austria.
Szijjártó also mentioned that negotiations have been ongoing for some time at a professional and corporate level with Russia, but a political agreement was also needed. The purpose of his meetings in Moscow this week was to close the process as quickly as possible and start delivery as soon as possible.
“Despite all kinds of circumstances, we want to ensure that no one in Hungary finds themselves in a vulnerable situation, that there is enough natural gas for every Hungarian person, every Hungarian family and every Hungarian business,” Szijjártó said.
At a joint press conference, Lavrov said the meeting was meaningful and useful. The two sides reviewed how they are doing and where they are in the implementation of bilateral tasks, which were agreed upon by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in February. According to Lavrov, they have achieved success in the implementation of joint energy projects, and despite the pandemic, last year’s bilateral trade increased by 25 percent.
Regarding the expansion of Hungary’s only nuclear plant, Paks, Lavrov said: “We would like to continue the Paks project together with Rosatom; we consider this a strategically important project.
“In the field of gas transport, we are complying with the agreement signed last year,” said the Russian foreign minister. Lavrov said that Russia would examine the Hungarian request for additional gas supplies and, despite the sanctions, was looking for ways to further deepen bilateral cooperation with Hungary.