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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Ex-OMV boss: Government should know about gas supply contracts

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Gerhard Roiss
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These envisage a decrease in Russian gas by 2040. Recently, Austria’s dependence on Russian gas has increased again: in December, 70 percent of the gas – almost as much as before the war – came from Russia.

According to the news channel Puls24, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) points out that he is not aware of the contract between OMV and the Russian Gazprom. For ex-OMV boss Gerhard Roiss, however, this is difficult to understand, he is quoted in the Ö1 Morgenjournal. After all, the Republic holds more than 30 percent of OMV via the holding company ÖBAG and is represented on the OMV Supervisory Board. A contract worth several billion euros and a term of more than ten years must be known to the supervisory board, said Roiss. “The probability that the supervisory board has not dealt with it is close to zero,” said a person familiar with the situation to the APA.

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ÖBAG does not have the contracts, the morning journal refers to a statement by ÖBAG. Roiss, on the other hand, expects “that with such contracts and with such risk dimensions, the supervisory board will ask and have the contract submitted.” Without transparency, however, it is unclear whether an early exit is not legally possible or fails due to political will, said Roiss.

OMV, on the other hand, is not thinking of doing without Russian gas. The contracts would provide for purchase commitments. It therefore makes sense to use this gas, the Ö1 Morgenjournal referred to a written statement by OMV.

Roiss sees the government as having a duty: “You have to look the problem in the eye.” There is gas from Norway, LNG options via Rotterdam and Italy, and own gas. However, the government must begin to look the problem in the eye and look for solutions. But that would probably cost a lot more money than saying you don’t know the contracts, Roiss said.

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