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Hungary joins Gazprom pipeline

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LNG Industry,

Reuters are reporting that Hungary has signed a deal with Russia's Gazprom to link the country with the Turkish Stream pipeline by the end of 2019.

Natural gas supplies to eastern Europe have been a major area of competition between incumbent pipeline power Russia and the US, which is touting its LNG potential in the region via onshore LNG terminals.

Hungary, which relies on Russian imports via Ukraine for nearly all of its gas use, has sought to diversify its imports geographically as well as by supplier for years.

Hungary's ambassador to Washington told a business forum in Budapest earlier this week that he would be keen to import American LNG as well.

A southern link to Russian pipelines has long been planned, with a previous project, South Stream, cancelled by Russia in 2014 in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict and EU sanctions.

International interconnectors between Hungary and possible trade partners Romania and Croatia also remain to be built, while Croatia is not expected to complete a long-planned LNG import terminal any time soon.

That terminal, planned for the Adriatic island of Krk, would be capable of bringing US gas to Hungary.

Szijjarto noted Bulgaria and Serbia had already signed agreements with Gazprom, which stipulate financing to be cleared by the end of 2017, permits secured by end-2018, for the gas link to reach Hungary by 2019.

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