The latest move towards energy diversity for Europe came in Budapest on Friday with the signing of agreements to build the Romanian section of the BRUA pipeline network.
Representatives of the European Commission and the Energy Ministers of 12 EU countries were on hand for the ceremony for the gas pipeline through Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary and Austria.
Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, told Euronews: “We are establishing a network. Not a big traditional pipeline, but smaller pipelines with reverse flows that permit the gas to flow north-south [and] east-west and the region will have more sources of energy available, more competition and cheaper energy.”
When completed BRUA will connect Eastern and Central Europe to the gas fields in the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.
In Romania, the network will stretch for 528 kilometres.
Romania’s Energy Minister Victor Vlad Grigorescu said their part will be connected with the Bulgarian section in just weeks: “This pipeline will get important financial support from the European Union through the so-called Mechanism of Projects of Common Interest. It will be around 180 million euros, to which we add our part – at least another 220 million euros – that the Romanian Transport Operator will add to this project. Besides energy security, this means jobs, GDP growth.”
From 2019, the BRUA network is due to deliver 4.4 billion cubic metres of gas per year to Hungary, which up until now is dependent on supplies from Russia.
Our correspondent in Budapest, Beatrix Asboth, concluded: “The Iron Curtain came down more than 25 years but eastern Europe’s dependence on Russian gas has remained. Given recent geopolitical tensions, it is very important to build a network of pipelines to diversify the region’s energy market as soon as possible.”