Serbia Made Agreement with Hungary to Utilize Its Gas Storage Sites

Hungarian and Serbian Foreign Ministers came to an agreement for Serbia to store natural gas in Hungarian gas storage facilities for next winter. Serbia’s Foreign Minister Mali said they were planning to deliver 500 million cubic metres of gas to Hungary for storage by the end of June.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjarto said the world is going through extremely critical times in terms of energy security. He added that Hungary and Serbia would contribute to guaranteeing each other’s energy security.

Hungary has 6 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas capacity, which is considerably higher compared to its neighbors. It is currently only about a quarter full although the country has been trying to fill up for winter.

It imports most of its gas from Russia via a pipeline through Serbia. The two countries also agreed to double their interconnector capacity of electricity grids, which will take 6-8 years to complete.

Mali said that Serbia, also almost totally dependent on Russian gas, would have a total of 3 billion cubic meters in storage by October, including that in Hungary.

Szijjarto further reiterated that Hungary would not support the EU’s proposal for an oil import ban on Russia until there is a solution that ensures Hungary’s energy security.

Budapest has demanded €750 million for short term investment to be used to upgrade refineries and expand a pipeline bringing oil from Croatia. The government claims it needs billions of euros more to shift its economy away from Russian oil.

Orban said the EU’s proposal of new sanctions against Russia should not be discussed at next week’s summit of EU leaders.

Szijjarto added that every country is free to decide whether they buy oil from Russia or not, but stressed that unanimity was required for approving EU sanctions.

Belgrade, performing a delicate balancing act between its European aspirations and its centuries-old religious, ethnic and political alliance with Russia, has condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine but declined to impose sanctions on Moscow.

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