European Union member Hungary announced Saturday that Russia has begun delivering more natural gas to it than agreed in their previous trade deals, after a visit by its foreign minister to Moscow in July.
The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that the commercial negotiations with Moscow “have led to an agreement”, with the result that the Russian company Gazprom began to deliver on Friday “volumes higher than those mentioned in the contract”.
“It is the duty of the Hungarian government to ensure a secure gas supply for the country, and we are up to the task,” wrote a senior ministry official, Tamas Menczer, on Facebook.
Until the end of August, an additional daily volume of 2.6 million cubic meters per day will arrive from the South via the Turkstream pipeline, he said, adding that negotiations were underway regarding September deliveries.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto made an impromptu trip to Moscow in July to discuss the purchase of an additional 700 million cubic meters of gas, which would be added to the 4.5 billion delivered annually to Budapest before the conflict in Ukraine.
“In light of what we know about the current state of the European market, it is clear that the acquisition of such a large volume is impossible without Russian sources,” Menczer estimated, mentioning Szijjarto’s trip.
The EU began implementing a plan this week to reduce its gas consumption by 15%, to cope with soaring energy prices caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Some countries in the European bloc are nevertheless reluctant to strictly follow the plan, which in any case speaks of “voluntary demand reduction”. Hungary, which depends on gas delivered directly from Russia, has requested a derogation.