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EU nation may halt Russian gas imports by 2028 – media

Contracts Austria signed with Gazprom are presently set to expire in 2040

Austrian Energy Minister Leonor Gewessler has revealed a plan to eliminate the country’s energy reliance on Moscow in less than half a decade, the Kurier newspaper reported on Friday, citing the draft legislation.

The sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia due to the Ukraine conflict do not target gas imports. Nevertheless, Russian supplies to the bloc have dropped sharply due to the restrictions and the September 2022 sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines.

In response to a request by the Austria Press Agency, the country’s energy ministry confirmed details about the bill, which would need the approval of Austria’s ruling party and at least a two-thirds vote of support in Parliament to pass.

In February, Gewessler urged that radical steps be taken to cut the country’s reliance on Russian gas, including breaking a long-term deal that the state energy company OMV has with Russia’s Gazprom until 2040. The minister admitted that the share of Austria’s gas imports from Russia was growing, and hit a record high of 98% in December.

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EU state’s dependence on Russian gas soars to 98% – energy minister

Gewessler has reportedly sent the bill, which is obligates the government to diversify the nation’s gas supplies, to the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) led by Chancellor Karl Nehammer. The minister’s proposal would make amendments to the Gas Industry Act, the Gas Diversification Act and the Energy Steering Act, Kurier stated.

The proposed changes are intended to reduce Austrian gas imports, which overwhelmingly come from Russia, to zero as soon as 2027.

According to the outlet, every gas supplier in Austria would be obliged to demonstrate an increasing proportion of non-Russian gas in their volumes from the 2024/25 gas year that begins in October.

In 2023, Austria’s imports of Russian gas reached pre-Ukraine conflict levels, OMV reported earlier this year, as the country imported almost double the amount of gas its economy needed. Data cited by Bloomberg showed that stable Russian gas supplies and increased shipments allowed Vienna to become a net energy exporter for the first time in twenty years.

April 13, 2024 at 06:52PM
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