Austria bought almost as much Russian gas in January

When it was announced a month ago that Austria's energy suppliers would buy 98 percent of their gas from Russia by December 2023, there was a big uproar. After all, EU countries have agreed to phase out Russian gas by 2027.

Energy Minister Leonore Kuesler (The Greens) then repeatedly presented the exit plan. Attention: Duty to diversify for gas suppliers. Reform of the gas industry law should force energy companies to phase out Russian gas. Since then the ministry has been working on a proposal. Perhaps the biggest hurdle: Kuesler's idea requires a two-thirds majority in the National Council. ÖVP, but it is uncertain whether SPÖ or FPÖ will join.

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Not an outlier: High achievement in January too

In any case, the pressure to implement the exit plan has not abated. A look at the new data reveals this of Ministry of Climate Change Energy Dashboards. The higher December value shows that the upside is not out. As of January 2024, Austria's energy companies also purchased 97 percent of their natural gas from Russia.

Lucas SustalaNeos' political director criticized this on Thursday evening X – Shortly after the numbers were updated: “Austria has further outsourced its energy policy to Gazprom. She delivers. We take.”

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Which does not ease the situation: Th Ukrainian Minister of Energy German Galuschtschenko Gazprom has insisted it does not want to extend its transit supply contract for gas flowing through Ukraine. Kalushchenko told us that the affected states, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia, could use Ukrainian gas storage facilities that store 15 billion cubic meters of gas. Bloomberg.

Is Gazprom likely to pull out of the deals?

Another issue Gewessler wants to address is the long-term OMV contracts with Gazprom until 2040. They offer a fixed purchase obligation (take or pay). Accordingly, OMV has to pay the minimum amount even if it does not buy it. Gewessler talks about “gag contracts”. If Russian gas no longer flows through Ukrainian pipelines, OMV may be expelled.

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Energy experts believe that Gazprom, which is part of state-owned OMV, will be able to supply OMV via alternative distribution channels and meet its supply obligations. Walter Boltz for exclusion. “In this case, Gazprom cannot deliver the quantities specified in the contracts, at least for a certain period. OMV will have to agree to other delivery points and will have the opportunity to withdraw from the contracts.” Boltz said a week ago in response to a KURIER request.

First Political Agreement

In order to ensure the security of non-Russian gas supplies in the future, the government is now focused on expanding at least ““West-Austria-Gasleitung” (WAG) in Upper Austria. A dispute with network operator Gas Connect over how the 200 million euro project should be financed has been resolved.

Construction is scheduled to begin following a pending environmental impact assessment. For example, Norwegian gas or gas shipped as liquefied natural gas to Western Europe can be imported into the pipeline. However, Gas Connect is not expected to be completed until 2027.

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