Austria is looking to take more drastic measures, including ending the long-term contract by which OMV buys gas from Gazprom, because it is dealing with high imports of Russian gas as the war in Ukraine continues, the energy minister announced on Monday. Leonore Gewessler.
Austria is trying to close the contract by which it imports Russian gas Photo: Shutterstock
Even though it has traditionally been one of Russia’s best and oldest customers for natural gas, Austria has increased its efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies, which still cover more than half of the country’s needs, reports Reuters.
Although political leaders such as Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) have repeatedly said that Moscow is no longer a reliable partner, the partially state-owned energy company OMV has made it clear that it will continue to buy gas from Gazprom, according to the contract valid until 2040.
Russia’s share of Austria’s gas imports actually rose in December to a new record high of 98 percent, up from 76 percent in November, even though the total volume of imports fell slightly, Gewessler explained.
The official added: “The market and the energy companies that are part of it do not fulfill their responsibilities to sufficiently reduce dependence on Russian gas. The diversification of our gas imports is progressing far too slowly.”
The Ministry of Energy commissioned the think-tank Wifo to carry out a study by the summer on the economic impact of concluding the contract and the dangers of maintaining dependence on Russian gas, Gewessler informed, adding: “We have to prepare for the abandonment of OMV’s long-term contracts”.
OMV representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Also, the Minister of Energy announced that he intends to force the companies that sell gas in Austria to adopt concrete measures to reduce the share of Russian gas in their mix. The legal basis for such a request will be reviewed.