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Gas imports from Russia: Austria seeks a way out of gas dependence on Moscow

Gas imports from Russia: Austria seeks a way out of gas dependence on Moscow
Gas imports from Russia: Austria seeks a way out of gas dependence on Moscow

In contrast to Germany, the Alpine republic still gets almost all of its gas from Russia. The corresponding contracts run until 2040. A commission is to examine an exit.

At the urging of Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens), Austria is considering withdrawing from the long-term gas supply contract with Russia. Individual members of a now established gas independence commission were given access to the corresponding contract between the partially state-owned energy company OMV and the Russian Gazprom, Gewessler said in Vienna. Confidentiality has been assured and OMV’s business secrets will be protected, said the minister.

The gas contract between Vienna and Moscow was extended in 2018 under the then OMV CEO Rainer Seele until 2040. It includes a fixed purchase obligation for large quantities of natural gas and provides for payment even if no gas is delivered. From January to May 2024, more than 90 percent of Austrian gas imports came from Russia.

“Isn’t there a way to get out of this contract?” said top lawyer and former candidate for the presidency, Irmgard Griss, who is a member of the commission. She pointed out that Austria is under international pressure because the country is co-financing Moscow’s war against Ukraine with billions of euros for Russian gas. The commission will also look at the circumstances under which the contract was extended in 2018, it said. After all, it practically cemented dependence on Russia as a gas importer. “This serves the one goal of learning from past mistakes,” said Gewessler. It is about acting more far-sightedly and more intelligently in the future. The commission’s results are expected to be available in the autumn.

Source: Stern

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