UNITED NATIONS, May 29. / TASS /. Hungary and Russia may sign an agreement on additional gas supplies at the upcoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told TASS in an interview on Wednesday.
"On top of the gas that we will buy this year for consumption, we will buy an additional 2 bln cubic meters of gas, and put it in our storage to be used next year, to replace Ukrainian transit. My colleagues are finalizing the agreement. I hope to be able to sign it in St. Petersburg, during the economic forum," Szijjarto said.
He reminded that currently "all imported gas arrives in Hungary exclusively from Russia." "There is a development that concerns us a lot, this is the lack of transit contract between Ukraine and Russia, which makes a scenario possible according to which there would be no transit to Hungary from the beginning of next year through Ukraine," Szijjarto explained.
That is why Szijjarto said that Hungary must buy the necessary volumes of gas ahead of time. "And I have agreed with [head of Gazprom] Mr. Miller that the gas which we would have bought next year through Ukraine, will be bought by us this year already," Szijjarto said.
At the end of April, Hungary and Slovakia looked into alternative routes for receiving natural gas ahead of the planned end of Russian gas transit via Ukraine next year. Then, the minister also announced that a working group that would include all Hungarian and Slovakian gas providers, transporters and traders, will assure the natural gas supply of both countries even in case of a negative scenario.
Szijjarto said on March 21 that Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller guaranteed uninterrupted gas supplies to Hungary regardless of whether Ukraine and Russia sign a new transit agreement. According to Gazprom, Hungarian imports of Russian gas grew by 9.3% last year, to 7.6 billion cubic meters. Between January 1 to March 20, Hungary bought 1.3 billion cubic meters of Russian gas, up 12.1% year-on-year.