April 18. 2024. 12:06

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Austria slides back into dependence on Russian gas

Imports of Russian gas into Austria are approaching market shares last reached during pre-war times, as Gazprom is once again delivering the total contracted amounts, while deliveries from Germany and Italy are dropping.

Few countries relied as much on gas from Russia as Austria with some 80% of all its domestic consumption flowing from the east before the war in Ukraine. This was partly due to the gas deals Vienna struck with the Soviet Union in exchange for Asutria’s continued neutrality and non-alignment, starting in the 1960s.

“We are temporarily back at 100% [gas deliveries from Gazprom] at the moment, but have also seen values at 30% and below in the past,” explained Reinhard Florey, CFO at Austrian energy major OMV.

Indeed, the return of Russian gas into Austria is already visible in the data from December 2022.

That month, while overall gas imports were lower than in previous years, Russian gas made up 71% of the total, according to data from ENTSOG and the Austrian regulator, E-Control.

On Tuesday, Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler called on Austrians to keep saving energy.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” she said, adding that saving gas would ensure storages are full for the coming winter.

On Thursday, Austria’s gas storage facilities were 74.87% full.

(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer | EURACTIV.de)