Austria remains dependent on gas from Russia

English Section / 21 noiembrie

Austria remains dependent on gas from Russia

Versiunea în limba română

Austria continues to get more than 50% of its natural gas supplies from Russia, despite the fact that almost two years have passed since the war against Ukraine broke out.

Data from E-Control, Austria's energy regulator, cited by, shows that 60% of natural gas used in Austria comes from Russia, and this amount rose to around 80% in September, close to previous levels of war.

The continued dependence on Russian gas is due to an existing supply contract between the Austrian government and the Russian state energy company Gazprom, the quoted source notes, noting that it is not known whether Austria has tried to exit this contract since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Walter Boltz, the head of E-Control, indicated in an interview with DPA that this dependence on Russian natural gas leaves Austria open to the risk of supply disruption if the conflict affects pipelines bringing gas from Ukraine. Walter Boltz drew attention: "Thus, high prices result and it is possible that regional energy suppliers will be subject to a shock. I have the impression that societies are burying their heads in the sand and hoping that things won't get that bad."

Despite Boltz's warnings, E-Control's head of gas, Carola Milgramm, believes that Austria's gas supply will remain secure throughout the coming winter and, in an emergency, sufficient gas could be obtained from the connections of existing pipelines to Germany and Italy.

Along with the former head of state oil company OMV, Gerhard Roiss, Boltz criticized Austria's lack of action in expanding pipeline connections to Germany. Following international criticism, Germany, Austria's neighboring state, has given up Russian natural gas in mid-2023, and is now supplied mainly from Norway.

Austria has long been seen as having close, uneasy relations with Russia, according to the source, who said several politicians had been convicted of their close ties to Gazprom and government figures in Moscow.

Natural gas prices are rising in Europe

Benchmark natural gas prices in Europe rose yesterday as forecasts of cooler temperatures added to rising tensions in the Middle East following the capture of a cargo ship by Yemen's Houthi rebels in the southern Red Sea. Bloomberg.

On Sunday, Israel stated that the incident was "an Iranian act of terrorism", with consequences for international maritime security. The ship belongs to Great Britain and is operated by the Japanese.

Yesterday morning, at the TTF gas hub in Amsterdam, where benchmark prices are set in Europe, natural gas futures for delivery next month rose 6.9%, then advanced 3.4 %, at 46.58 euros for one Megawatt-hour (MWh). The increase comes after four sessions of decreases in European natural gas prices, notes Agerpres.

In most of northwestern Europe, temperatures are expected to fall below normal towards the end of the month, which could increase heating demand. Separately, the capture of the ship in the southern Red Sea raises fears that the Israel-Hamas war could lead to wider disruption of shipping.

So far, energy shipments have been largely unaffected by the conflict in the Middle East, but the Red Sea, including the Suez Canal, is one of the world's busiest shipping routes. Oil tankers from Qatar - a key exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) - regularly pass through the region on their way to Europe.

"Currently, anything that could theoretically become a problem seems to lead to an increase in prices. The conflict could expand and disrupt the flows from Qatar to Europe, but currently there are no indications that this would happen", said Jonathan Stern, visiting senior researcher at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Europe is preparing for winter with full gas storage capacities and massive LNG imports, but the continent remains vulnerable to supply risks after last year's energy crisis significantly reduced Russian gas flows.

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