Slovenia and Hungary soon to sign gas pipeline deal
Slovenia and Hungary are expected to sign a memorandum on the construction of a pipeline linking their natural gas networks in October, less then a year after the project was discussed by the countries' prime ministers.
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto announced on Facebook on 29 August that the two countries had finalised the cooperation agreement greenlighting the "construction of a natural gas interconnector", the Hungarian press agency MTI reported.
Slovenia is Hungary's only neighbour whose natural gas network has not yet been linked with Hungary's, Szijjarto noted.
The new pipeline link will have a capacity of 440 million cubic metres, allowing for supplies via the Italy-Slovenia-Hungary gas corridor, the minister said, adding that the new facility would mark "another crucial step towards Hungary's energy security".
The finalised agreement is to be signed in Budapest in early October.
According to unofficial information obtained by the Slovenian Press Agency, Hungarian and Slovenian officials agreed the content of the memorandum at a meeting at the Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy in Ljubljana on 29 August, demonstrating the political will to move the project forward.
For the pipeline to be actually built, several other steps still need to be taken, including secure funding.
Commenting on the project in Gornja Radgona on 30 August, Economy Minister Matjaž Han said that Energy Minister Bojan Kumer would visit Hungary in October "where an agreement will be signed".
The countries' prime ministers, Robert Golob and Viktor Orban, discussed the construction of the pipeline in December 2022 when they attended a ceremony marking the completion of a high-voltage power line linking the two national grids.
"Such a connection would enable Hungary to get rid of dependence on Russian gas in the mid-term and find an independent source that would be supplied through Italy," Golob said of the pipeline at the time.
He assessed that the countries could implement the project or come very close to implementing it by the end of this government's term, in 2026.
But he also said that before that the question of the pipeline's size and its position in the European space would have to be addressed because the project would be co-funded by the EU.
Orban also expressed interest in connecting the two countries with a gas pipeline to reduce Hungary's dependence on Russian energy. Hungary is also interested in having similar connections with Croatia and Romania.