Hungarian PM announces deal on gas imports from Romania

Hungary will sign a 15-year deal to import almost half the natural gas it needs each year from Romania, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

Hungary, whose gas consumption stood at some 7.5 billion cubic meters in 2015, will thus reduce its reliance on Russia.

“The era of Russian gas monopoly will come to an end in Hungary … as we will be able to cover more than half of our imports from other, in this case Romanian, sources,” Orban said in a news conference, according to Reuters.

He added that three Hungarian companies had won a tender in Romania for the gas but did not name the companies.

Hungary could thus start to import gas from Romania after 2022. The gas pipeline between Romania and Hungary doesn’t currently have the technical capacity to support gas exports to Hungary but Romanian and Hungarian foreign affairs ministers agreed on February 6 that Romania would create the technical conditions to export gas to Hungary by 2020.

Romania’s gas transporter Transgaz has already started work on a gas pipeline that will connect Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria (BRUA), which should allow the natural gas extracted from the Black Sea to be exported to Western Europe.

US group ExxonMobil and Romanian company OMV Petrom operate the biggest gas deposit in the Black Sea. The two groups will announce a decision on the commercial exploitation of the deposit by the end of this year.

Black Sea Oil and Gas, a company controlled by US group Carlyle, also said it would start exploiting a gas deposit in the Black Sea in the following years. The company has already found buyers for the gas and waits for the permits to start preparing the extraction, according to its representatives.

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