Ukraine has begun importing natural gas from Hungary for the first time in its history, the CEO of Ukraine’s Gas Transmission System Operator, Serhiy Makohon, announced on his Facebook page on Feb. 1.
“In the past, the GTS system only operated in the direction from Ukraine to Hungary,” wrote Makohon.
“Thanks to the technical measures taken, it is now possible to transport gas in both directions.”
Makohon added that Hungary had become a second guaranteed gas supply route for Ukraine, after Slovakia. Relations with Ukraine’s former gas supplier, Russia, have been rocky ever since Russia occupied Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and parts of its eastern Donbas region in 2014.
Ukraine’s state-owned gas monopoly, Naftogaz, has been continuously challenging Gazprom in court, most recently winning $5 billion in damages at the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal in 2018.
In previous years, the exchange of gas between Ukraine and Hungary was carried out in a virtual reverse flow mode: Using a single-direction pipeline, Ukraine could “receive” an amount of gas from Hungary simply by pumping less gas from Ukraine to Hungary.
On Jan. 24, Ukraine’s GTSO and Hungary’s FGSZ agreed to extend the guaranteed natural gas supply from Hungary to Ukraine until Sep. 30, 2022.