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Austria will stop importing Russian gas before its contract expires in 2040

Austria will stop importing Russian gas before its contract expires in 2040

February 12, 2024 – 5:04 pm

We must phase out Russian gas imports and solve Austria's energy needs from other sources, the country's Green Party Energy Minister, Leonor Gevsler, told a press conference on Monday. Reuters reports.

The minister also stated that the share of Russian gas in the total volume of Austrian gas imports peaked at 98 percent in December, a significant increase even compared to 76 percent in November. As the minister explained, Austrian companies are not adhering to the rules on reducing dependence on Russian resources and, as he added, Russia cannot be considered a reliable partner after it launched an attack on Ukraine in February 2022.

An important obstacle to ending dependence on Russian gas is that the partly state-owned oil company OMV has a contract with Gazprom until 2040, and the company wants to buy continuously from the original Russian energy source until then. Geussler said that his ministry will assign the WIFO Foundation for Economic Research to prepare a study by the summer on the economic effects of terminating the contract and the risks of relying on Russian gas.

Reuters also noted that at the time of the announcement, it was not yet clear whether the coalition partner of the left-wing Greens, Chancellor Karl Nehammer's conservative People's Party, was aware of plans for an early withdrawal from Russian gas. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in Austria this fall, and the far-right Freedom Party is currently leading the popularity contest.

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