The leaders of Hungary, Romania, Georgia and Azerbaijan on Saturday reached an agreement on an undersea electrical connector that could become a new energy source for the European Union amid an energy supply crisis stemming from the war in Ukraine.
The agreement includes a cable that runs under the Black Sea linking Azerbaijan to Hungary through Georgia and Romania.
The agreement comes as Hungary, which has lobbied hard against EU sanctions on Russia over its war in Ukraine, seeks additional sources of fossil fuels to reduce its heavy dependence on Russian oil and gas.
Azerbaijan plans to export electricity from offshore wind farms to Europe via Georgia, a cable under the Black Sea, and then to Romania and Hungary.
The office of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said in a statement on Friday that the agreement between the four countries will provide the “financial and technical framework” for the undersea electric cable project.
The statement said the project aims to diversify energy supplies and increase regional energy security.
On Friday, Romanian natural gas producer Romgaz also said it had signed a contract with Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR to receive natural gas through the so-called Southern Gas Corridor, where deliveries are scheduled to begin on January 1. Strategic objectives “to diversify natural gas sources.
Hungary’s foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, said in August that Azerbaijan would soon produce “large amounts of green electricity” through offshore wind farms, and that by signing on to the Mosul project that could bring that energy to Europe, Hungary is meeting the requirements that Two EU member states participate in order for the investment to be funded by the bloc.
Cigarto said the project could be completed in three or four years, and that it would be a major step toward diversifying energy supplies and achieving carbon neutrality goals.
This week, Chijjarto met with officials from both Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman regarding the possibility of importing oil and natural gas in the future to Hungary from the two Middle Eastern countries, in another sign that Hungary is taking steps to reduce 85% of its natural gas. More than 60% of its oil it currently gets from Russia.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Romanian President Iohannis, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attended the signing ceremony in Bucharest on Saturday, together with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Spike reported from Budapest. Stephen McGrath contributed in Bucharest.
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