Hungary, Romania to connect natural gas systems

Hungary and Romania—citing supply security issues—have agreed to connect their natural gas systems.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, July 11 -- Hungary and Romania—citing supply security issues—have agreed to connect their natural gas systems. FGSZ Natural Gas Transmission Co., operator of Hungary's gas transmission system signed a joint development agreement with Transgaz, the operator of Romania's gas transmission system in Arad, Romania. The interconnecting pipeline will follow the Arad-Szeged route.

FGSZ will build the 47-km Hungarian section of the gasline, and Transgaz will lay the 67 km Romanian section, of which 36.7 km are already built.

Each side will finance its own section. For Hungary the investment is 9 billion forints. The Romanian investment is not known. The interconnection should become operational in mid-2010. For the commercial operation of the gasline, both parties intend to sign an operation agreement and a capacity allocation agreement.

Connection between the two systems will strengthen regional security, creating a link independent of any third country, and it will spread confidence throughout Central and Eastern Europe, commented Andris Piebalgs, the European Commission's energy commissioner. "This is a concrete step in the direction of an integrated European gas network," he said.

Initially, gas will be transported to Romania from Hungary. At a later stage, if technical conditions are established, gas could be transported to Hungary from Romania. The proposed connection will help develop gas markets in the Eastern EU and diversify supply routes, increasing supply security for Romania and possibly Bulgaria.

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