Austria seeks way out of gas dependency on Moscow

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Written By Maya Cantina


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 gas independence commission that has been established in the meantime were given insight into the associated contract between the partly state-owned energy company OMV and Russia’s Gazprom, Gewessler said in Vienna. Confidentiality is guaranteed and OMV’s business secrets are protected, the minister said.

The gas contract between Vienna and Moscow was extended to 2040 in 2018 under then OMV boss Rainer Seele. 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 Austria’s gas imports came from Russia.

“Is there no way to get out of this contract?” said top lawyer and former federal presidential candidate Irmgard Griss, who is a member of the commission. She recalled that Austria is under international pressure because the country helps finance Moscow’s war against Ukraine with billions of euros in Russian gas. The commission will also look into the circumstances under which the contract was extended in 2018. After all, it practically increased dependence on Russia as a gas importer. “This serves the only purpose: learning from past mistakes,” Gewessler said. It is about acting more far-sightedly and intelligently in the future. The commission’s results should be available in the fall.

An announcement: This report is part of an automated service of the German Press Agency (dpa), which operates according to strict journalistic rules. It is not edited or checked by the online editorial staff of AZ. Feel free to send questions and comments

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