Energy dependency maintains Europe’s long-term competitive disadvantage, the Energy Minister stressed on Friday at the Tranzit Festival in Tihany, at Lake Balaton, reports Hirado.hu. Speaking at a panel discussion on the changes in the energy market, Csaba Lantos stressed that mankind has always tried to make the most of available resources, and for the first time in history is attempting to provide energy at a lower intensity.
Europe is leading the way in this endeavor, which in the long term could mean that the continent lags far behind the rest of the world in terms of competitiveness, he said. The minister also pointed out that no conservative government likes to interfere in market processes, but “the energy market, heavily influenced by other states, and their ideological choices,” that are also not free market solutions, are forcing the Hungarian government to do so. He noted that there had been state intervention in the energy market in all European countries.
Energy Minister Csaba Lantos. Photo: MTI/Máthé Zoltán
On the security of energy supply, Csaba Lantos noted that a North-South corridor of natural gas has been established in East-Central Europe from Poland to Slovakia, an LNG (liquified natural gas) terminal has been built in Greece, Hungary has a gas contract with Turkey, and there is huge storage capacity, giving Hungary great security for the future.
In search of alternative energy sources, the Hungarian government has reached an agreement with Qatar
on importing LNG. Qatar is the world’s number one exporter of LNG, and although its capacities are currently tied up, from 2027, the agreement will allow it to include LNG in its supply to Hungary.
Similiarly, Azerbaijan is to play a key role in Hungary’s energy security as well. A physical gas transport link has been established between the two countries, with the agreement to store 50 million cubic meters of gas in Hungary on a lease basis, and the entry of this has already started.
The panel discussion was also attended by Zsolt Hernádi, CEO of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, who said that the new energy sources are only meeting the growing demand for consumption, meanwhile the use of old energy sources is not decreasing.
MOL CEO Zsolt Hernádi. Photo: MTI/Máthé Zoltán
He mentioned that as a consequence of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, Russian gas has been replaced by American and Norwegian gas. As a result, Europe’s competitiveness has been “dealt a big slap,” because the price has been set at a much higher level. Europe is losing a lot from the new equilibrium because it costs much more to buy energy sources, he added.
Featured photo via Pixabay