Az oldalt gondozza: Energiaklub

Gas issues

The majority of Hungarian households uses natural gas for heating. It is clearly understandable therefore that we deal with this issue in the framework of the Control Energy Project. First we investigated the strategic gas storage facility as it directly affects consumers.

The strategic gas storage facility is an establishment from which previously stored natural gas can be obtained in case of a crisis – when there is not sufficient gas coming to Hungary through the tubes – and thus is available to consumers. The natural gas storage facility in Hungary has a security storage capacity of 1.2 billion cubic metres for crises plus a commercial storage capacity of 700 million cubic metres that can be sold freely. The costs of construction and operation were incorporated into and are still part of consumer gas prices – the consumers pay for these. The security and commercial storage facilities are physically not separated, and we have no knowledge of their financial separation. The question therefore is whether the construction and operation costs represented in the price of natural gas kept and used for security reasons are properly separated from those in the price of gas used for commercial purposes that brings business profit to the operating companies; whether consumers are forced to pay the costs of the latter as well. The reason for establishing the storage facility is also debatable: why was it necessary to spend almost 500 billion over decades on a project that is not a standard solution anywhere else in the world? What crisis makes it necessary to open the storage facility when it was not needed even in the “great Hungarian crisis” of 2009?

These are some of the questions we were seeking answers to when we requested data related to the strategic gas storage facility in October 2009, first from the Mol Nyrt., then from the Hungarian Hydrocarbon Stockpiling Association (MSZKSZ) and the MSZKSZ Underground Gas Storage (MMBF Zrt.). Our data requests were rejected with the primary reason that the Mol Nyrt., as a company conducting business activities does not perform state or local government functions or other public functions described in the law, and that the data requested are considered trade secrets. After all this, on 25 January, 2010 we filed a lawsuit against the Mol Nyrt., the MSZKSZ and the MMBF. During the multi-step trial the court refused to handle the issue as a legal matter, and appointed an expert to assess whether the data are rightly considered trade secrets or not. Even though the expert report stated that disclosing the requested data would not put the respondents at a business disadvantage – and referred to a legally non-existent notion: “trade secret for national security reasons” – the court decided that the data will not have to be disclosed.

Thus we still have not received any answer to the questions listed above.