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Szijjarto: Hungary to start gas purchase talks with Qatar

Hungary and Qatar have reached an agreement paving the way for talks on future gas purchases between state-owned energy company MVM and QatarEnergy, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said in Doha on Wednesday.

The aim is for Hungary to be able to take into account deliveries of Qatari liquefied natural gas (LNG) when it comes to guaranteeing the country’s gas supply, Peter Szijjarto said after talks with Qatar’s energy and foreign ministers, according to a foreign ministry statement.

Europe is facing a serious energy supply crisis which will not be resolved by “flawed price caps” on oil or gas, Szijjarto said. “The solution should be obvious: the more natural gas makes its way to the European market, the more secure Europe’s gas supply would be, and the cheaper we’d be able to buy it,” Szijjarto said.

Urging the inclusion of more energy sources, Szijjarto noted that Qatar has the world’s third largest gas reserves and is the second biggest LNG exporter. The Middle Eastern country is also developing its extraction and delivery capacities, he added.

Szijjarto said Hungary and Qatar on Wednesday signed a political agreement clearing the way for talks between MVM and QatarEnergy on potential future natural gas purchases.

He also highlighted the role of the European Union, saying infrastructure developments will be needed in order to bring large volumes of natural gas to Hungary via the southern and south-eastern European LNG terminals.

If Croatia expands the capacity of its LNG terminal as it has promised, there will be a realistic possibility for Hungary to receive gas from Qatar within about three years, Szijjarto said.

The minister also underlined the importance of maintaining good relations with countries that have an impact on the entire global economy amid the current economic difficulties. Qatar is one such country, he said, adding that cooperation between Hungary and the Middle Eastern country had always been based on mutual respect, and there was no political obstacle to further boosting bilateral ties.

Hungary and Qatar also finalised an investment protection agreement, which could be an important step in attracting Qatari investments to Hungary, Szijjarto said. Bilateral trade turnover reached a record 60 million US dollars last year and has continued to rise this year, he added.

Szijjarto welcomed the direct air link between Budapest and Doha, noting that the tourism industry was in great need of increased tourist numbers.

He highlighted the economic importance of the EU having strengthened its ties with the Gulf countries, saying this needed to be based on mutual respect.

Meanwhile, he said Hungary and Qatar shared the same position on the war in Ukraine, noting that both countries condemned the conflict and wanted peace. And peace can only be achieved through negotiation, for which communication channels must be left open, he added.

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