Austrian company says remains committed buying Russian gas
Austrian oil and gas company OMV plans to continue purchasing a significant amount of gas from Russian energy giant Gazprom, despite having alternative contracts, citing legal obligations and potential price hikes.
Austrian oil and gas company OMV has announced its intention to continue buying from Russian energy giant Gazprom, even after securing alternative contracts from other sources to fulfill Austria's import needs, Sputnik reported citing OMV Group CEO Alfred Stern.
CEO Alfred Stern confirmed that OMV will continue to honor its long-term agreement with Gazprom, citing legal obligations and the potential for price increases if certain sources are eliminated.
"As long as Gazprom will supply … we will continue to take these quantities from Gazprom … There is an obligation we have as an industrial company to ensure that we use those sources as long as they are legally acceptable," Stern told the Financial Times newspaper.
The question of potential Western sanctions on Russian gas, Stern argued, is a matter for policymakers to decide. However, he cautioned that restricting certain sources could lead to price hikes.
The CEO's remarks highlight OMV's commitment to the long-term supply contract with Gazprom, which was extended until 2040 in 2018.
Earlier this week, Roman Haider, an EU lawmaker from the Freedom Party of Austria, told Sputnik that Austrian Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler is a "delusional green deal fanatic" who needs a reality check after the latter called on domestic suppliers to accelerate the process of decoupling from Russian gas despite that no alternative has been found so far to Russian oil.
Gewessler's controversial call was issued on Monday during a meeting with energy companies.
"This minister is a delusional green-deal-fanatic. She has no idea how to shift away from Russian gas, so she invited the gas suppliers to tell her how. After the meeting, she didn't know any more than before. The truth is that Austria has no alternative to Russian gas," Haider said.
Haider also ridiculed a deal that Gewessler signed with the UAE in October 2022 for the supply of LNG, noting that it would only cover 1% of Austria's energy needs.
He further pointed out that since November 2022, Austria's share of Russian production has increased considerably, reaching 70% in December 2022.
Back in June, Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned that Europe's largest economy could end up shutting down industrial production if Ukraine's agreement with Russia to transit gas to Europe is not extended.
The gas transit deal, which is set to expire at the end of 2024, is still a main source of energy for countries such as Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia, and remains a source of revenue for Kiev, which earns transfer fees by allowing gas passage through its territory.
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