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PMs discuss new Slovenia-Hungary gas link

| 2022-12-08 2 min read

PMs discuss new Slovenia-Hungary gas link

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have discussed building a pipeline to transit Algerian gas when they unveiled the first power line linking their countries’ national grids

Slovenia’s green energy mogul turned premier said the “expression of solidarity” would “allow Hungary to free itself of reliance on Russian gas in the medium term and find an independent source that would traverse Italy”.

Hungary has three options to lower its reliance on Kremlin gas: via Romania, Croatia, or Slovenia, Orban said, adding that accepting one would not preclude consideration of the others.

Golob, a centrist who toppled Orban right-wing ally Janez Jansa in April, said the link into Hungary from Slovenia border village Pince could plausibly be completed by the end of his four-year term. 

Slovenia revives pre-90s energy links with Algeria

In November Slovene Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon signed a “competitive” three-year supply agreement between Slovenia’s Geoplin and Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach with Algerian Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer.

This revived former bilateral energy business in the two decades after the collapse of Yugoslavia, before Slovenia pivoted to Russian gas imports in 2012, as was the European trend. 

Under the deal, inked in response to the energy instability caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, Slovenia will receive 300,000,000m3 in natural gas annually, from 1 January, via pipelines in Italy and Tunisia, which will meet roughly one-third of its requirements.

Slovenia expresses regional solidarity

Golob told UK business daily The Financial Times “Hungary is totally dependent on Russian gas but it’s not the only one. Austria is in a similar position. The neighbours (must) help them to solve it — they cannot do it on their own.”

While EU member states are rushing to decouple from Russian gas by 2030, the Orban administration has been granted an exception.

According to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry the country imports 85% of his gas from Russia. Slovenia is currently the only neighbouring country from which Hungary does not import energy.