World: Hungary's Orban expects gas deal with Russia this summer

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BUDAPEST (Reuters) -Hungary expects to sign a deal with Russia on additional gas shipments of 700 million cubic metres by the end of summer, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Hungarian PM Orban takes the oath of office in the Parliament in Budapest © Reuters/BERNADETT SZABO FILE PHOTO: Hungarian PM Orban takes the oath of office in the Parliament in Budapest

The two countries have been in talks for further supplies on top of an existing long-term supply pact.

"Hungary will have enough gas," Orban said.

"We are negotiating with the Russians to buy an additional 700 million cubic metres of gas, this deal can be signed during the summer, and then we will be safe," he added.

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According to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe, Hungary's gas storages are about 50% full now, covering 29% of its annual consumption.

European Union member Hungary has maintained what it calls pragmatic relations with Moscow since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, creating tensions with some EU allies keen to take a tougher line.

Hungary, which is about 85% dependent on Russian gas, firmly opposes the idea of EU sanctions on Russian gas imports.

Under a 15-year deal with Russia's Gazprom signed last year, Hungary receives 3.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year via Bulgaria and Serbia, and a further 1 bcm via a pipeline from Austria.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; editing by Clarence Fernandez and Jason Neely)

Russia and Europe Go to War on Energy | Opinion .
For too long, there was an assumption in much of Europe that Russia could be counted on as a reliable supplier, even if there were substantial policy differences in other areas. That assumption turned out to be a mistake.Europe, which was already facing the prospect of gas shortages this winter, is now scrambling to mitigate the impact before the situation reaches a point where gas rationing is necessary. The European Union (EU) is striking deals with non-Russian suppliers and seeking to impose gas consumption quotas on member states.

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