Haidach storage soon in domestic network

The additional gas volume of the strategic reserve should come from non-Russian sources, taking into account availability on the market. “The measure will significantly reduce dependence on Russian gas,” said Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) after the Council of Ministers. Finance Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) emphasized that the resilience of Austria as a location must be increased and growth created.

Austria is currently 80 percent dependent on Russia for gas. According to Gewessler, by increasing the strategic gas reserve with non-Russian gas, the Russian share should drop by ten percentage points to 70 percent. This measure will be taken by ordinance, and she will submit a corresponding ordinance to the Main Committee of the National Council “quickly”, she said.

Finance Minister Magnus Brunner and Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler

APA/Tobias Steinmaurer

Finance Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) and Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) at their press conference

Don’t target unused memory

In addition, all gas storage facilities in Austria are to be connected to the Austrian pipeline network. At present, the large Haidach gas storage facility is only connected to the German grid. Affected storage facilities must submit an application for grid access and grid access within four months of their entry into force.

In addition, gas storage users will in future be obliged to offer or return unused storage capacities. This enables other companies to access it and fill the memory, it said. If storage capacities remain systematically unused, they must be withdrawn by the storage company after prior written notification.

Gewessler: “Absolutely justified”

It is “no longer acceptable” that the Gazprom subsidiary GSA does not store in Haidach, said Gewessler. According to data from the European industry association GIE, the filling level of the GSA storage is currently zero percent. “If Gazprom doesn’t store data, then others will also have access.” That was “absolutely justified,” said the minister, commenting on the principle that is now being considered – this has already proven itself in long-distance gas pipelines. Both points require an amendment to the Gas Industry Act and a two-thirds majority in the National Council. The corresponding initiative proposals are to be submitted this week.

Haidach gas storage station

APA/Manfred Fesl

The Haidach gas storage station near Straßwalchen

Ministry: Consumption saved for almost four months

Around 25 TWh of gas are currently stored in Austrian gas storage facilities. According to the Ministry of Energy, this corresponds to the consumption of almost four average months. The gas storage level is currently around 26 percent, and an increase to 80 percent is planned by next winter.

Gewessler spoke of a “very tense situation in terms of energy policy”. In the past, Austria had become “greatly dependent” on Russia for gas supplies. “No one can quickly undo mistakes from the past.” Ending these dependencies takes time, but she is doing everything she can, Gewessler continues. The “clear goal” is to create “safety for the winter”.

Brunner: More safety for industry too

Finance Minister Brunner referred to the great importance of the measures for Austria as a business location. Both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have increased the pressure on the economies, which have been in “crisis mode” for around two years now. In Austria, too, the war is hampering growth and the “recently good economic development”. “It is therefore all the more important to increase the resilience of Austria as a business location. We must do everything we can to generate growth.”

Therefore, measures were discussed “which also ensure that the gas storage tanks are filled”. This means that the industry can also take appropriate precautions. He also referred to measures that have already been initiated, such as the amendment to the Energy Control Act. This is intended to create more security for industrial companies that store gas. In the event of a reduction in gas supplies, the companies would not be affected immediately and would also be compensated if the state had access to the reserves.

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