BUDAPEST (AFP) – Hungary has restarted gas supplies to neighbouring Ukraine, Hungarian pipeline network operator FGSZ Zrt said Sunday, after suspending deliveries in September, prompting criticism from Ukraine’s state-owned gas firm Naftogaz.
“I can confirm that gas delivery from Hungary to Ukraine has begun,” FGSZ spokeswoman Edina Lakatos told AFP in an email.
Lakatos confirmed around 2.6 million cubic metres of gas was delivered Saturday.
FGSZ decided to halt shipments indefinitely to Ukraine on September 25, a move that was criticised by Ukrainian state-owned gas firm Naftogaz as “unexpected and unexplained”.
The suspension came only days after a meeting in Budapest between Alexei Miller, head of Russian gas giant Gazprom, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who often warns against damaging commercial relations with Russia.
At the time, FGSZ said the halt was to service an increase in demand. Orban later said it was to top up domestic reserves.
He said Hungary had to be ready in case of a shutdown of the pipeline on its border with Ukraine through which large-scale deliveries of gas from Gazprom are pumped.
According to Ukrainian gas transmission system operator Ukrtransgaz, last year Ukraine imported a total of 600 million cubic metres of gas from its western neighbour.
Supplies from Hungary are part of a European effort to help out Ukraine, which is mired in political and military conflict with Russia.
Hungary has the pipeline capacity to send up to 6.1 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Ukraine annually, or a daily maximum of 16.8 million cubic metres.