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Hungary, Serbia preparing to build new oil pipeline

Hungary and Serbia are preparing to build a new crude oil pipeline to strengthen the security of supply, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Thursday.

Negotiations between Hungarian oil and gas company MOL and Serbian oil transport company Transnafta are under way on the pipeline that will connect Algyo, in southern Hungary, and Novi Sad, in northern Serbia, the foreign ministry cited Szijjarto as saying. The agreement is expected to be signed in June, he added.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Serbia’s energy minister Dubravka Dedovic, Szijjarto said Europe was facing serious challenges in energy supply due to the war in Ukraine.

He noted that demand for energy had increased following the reopening of the Chinese economy, and LNG capacities had not yet been developed to the extent that it could make up for the loss of 60 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas on the European market.

“Hungarian-Serbian strategic energy cooperation is one of the guarantees that Hungary’s supply will remain secure in the next period,” he said.

Hungary receives a daily 9-15 million cubic metres of gas via the TurkStream pipeline from Serbia, and the country is also a possible delivery route for the volumes of gas Hungary wants to buy from Azerbaijan, Szijjarto said.

Hungary is therefore interested in the development of Serbia’s internal network and considers it a European issue, and therefore expects the European Union to finance infrastructure developments in the region that enable central Europe to access alternative sources, he said.

Szijjarto said that a framework agreement had been reached that Hungary will store 500 million cubic metres of gas for Serbia in its storage facilities this year as well.

In addition, state-owned energy company MVM and Srbijagas will set up a joint company soon to carry out joint gas trade activities, strengthening the presence of the two countries on the central European energy market, he said.

Szijjarto also welcomed the fact that the construction of the new cross-border power line is progressing according to schedule. This will result in doubling the transport capacity and is expected to be completed by 2028, he added.

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