Hungary mulls gas link with Slovenia to cut dependence on Russia
Hungary is discussing with Slovenia the construction of a gas pipeline to connect the two countries, in order to reduce the former's reliance on Russian supply, Slovenian prime minister Robert Golob has said.
Hungary gets around 85% of its gas from Russia, and while the government of prime minister Viktor Orban is reluctant to stop buying Russian gas completely, this over-dependency could put the country at risk if there are further cuts to Russian deliveries to Europe.
"Such a connection would allow Hungary to free itself of reliance on Russian gas in the medium term and find an independent source that would traverse Italy," Golob said, according to Euractiv. "If we go down this route, I see this as an expression of solidarity between the two countries.
Golob was speaking with Orban at an event to mark the launch of a new high-voltage power link connecting the two countries' grids on December 2. Orban said Hungary was looking at three options to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, including accessing deliveries through Romania, Croatia or Slovenia.
"If we complete one of the projects, this does not mean we are not interested in other options," he said.
Slovenia's grid already extends to the eastern village of Prince at the border with Hungary. Golob said he was confident that the two networks could be "very close to completion" or even finished before the end of his term as prime minister in three and a half years.
Slovenia too is very reliant on Russian gas, but recently clinched a three-year deal to import 300mn m3/year of gas from Algeria's Sonatrach from the start of this year. The gas would be delivered via pipelines in Tunisia and Italy, and could satisfy around a third of the country's demand.