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TOP or TOPless beyond 2015?Future of the Hungarian natural gas market beyond the long term contractPublished: 1 of September, 2012

The long term Take-or-pay (TOP) contract that was signed between Gazprom and MOL in 1996, and which even today serves as the backbone of the supply side of the domestic natural gas market, will expire in 2014-15, opening up the opportunity to meaningfully reorganise the structure of the gas wholesale market. The current article raises a number of vital questions concerning the future structure of the Hungarian natural gas sector, essential from the perspective of the competitiveness of domestic power plants and the economic position of the households. First and foremost, we inspect if it is reasonable to make a new TOP contract – similar to the current one – specifically for the Hungarian market, considering the expected domestic and regional gas market developments.