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Orbán: Hungary to strike new gas deal with Russia this summer

Hungary expects to agree on a new deal with Russia this summer that would provide the country with an additional 700 million cubic meters of gas, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Friday.

“We are negotiating with the Russians … this deal can be signed during the summer, and then we will be safe,” he said, speaking to local state radio. “Hungary will have enough gas.”

The new deal would come on top of a 15-year deal with Russia’s Gazprom, signed last year, to supply Hungary with around 4.5 bcm of gas per year.

The announcement comes after Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó visited Moscow last week to discuss the potential for a deal with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Lavrov said at the time that Budapest’s “request [for more gas] will be immediately … considered.”

Hungary is currently lagging behind other EU member countries in loading up on gas ahead of winter. The country’s reserves are only 50 percent full, compared with a bloc-wide average of 68 percent.

The country is highly dependent on Russian energy, with around 80 percent of its gas coming from Russia, and opposes any potential EU sanctions on Russian gas.

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