Hungary’ Prime Minister Viktor Orban is urging the European Union to build pipeline interconnectors across borders to ensure natural gas from Azerbaijan can reach markets in central Europe.
As Orban signed a strategic partnership agreement this week with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, he took the opportunity to prompt the EU to create a southern gas corridor as an alternative to Russian gas piped through Ukraine.
“The contracts available today only guarantee that Azeri energy would reach southern Europe. Our job in the coming years is to create the conditions for Azeri gas to make the journey from southern Europe to central Europe. There is only one way to achieve this, which is that the neighbouring countries should connect their pipelines,” Orban told reporters.
Azeri gas is supposed to reach southern Europe by the end of this decade through the proposed Trans Adriatic and the Trans Anatolian gas pipelines.
Hungary is keen to be connected to those, though trying not to upset Brussels or Moscow Orban says he supports the building of Russian and non-Russian gas sources alike and he wants to ensure that there are alternative supply routes to the current ageing pipelines.
Hungary has unnerved some European partners with its support for the South Stream pipeline project, which is designed to carry Russian gas to central Europe, bypassing Ukraine.
The Trans Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP) and the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) would carry billions of cubic metres of gas a year from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II in the Caspian Sea, one of the world’s largest gas fields developed by a BP-led consortium.