Austria seizes Gazprom-owned gas storage facility
Austria's federal government has started the transfer of the country's largest gas storage facility Haidach owned by the russian Gazprom, to other users due to its non-use by the russian gas company.
Federal Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer stated this during a press conference in Vienna on Wednesday, Ukrinform reports.
"We introduced the principle of "use or lose" ("use or lose" – ed.), which means: either gas storage facilities are used for the purpose for which they are intended – that is, gas storage, or, if this does not happen, then they will be taken from the respective users and assigned to others for gas storage. Haidach is a gas storage facility in Austria that has not yet been filled, so it will now be made available to other users for gas storage," the chancellor said.
He also pointed out that the Austrian government is taking steps in various directions to eliminate dependence on russia's natural gas supply.
Austrian Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler, who was also present at the press conference, said that the gas regulator E-control "has already started the procedure to stop the systematic non-use of the Haidachh gas storage facility."
She informed that on July 1, a law came into force in Austria that does not allow systematically not using the ordered volumes of storage in the country's gas storage facilities.
"If the client does not store (gas – ed.), these capacities must be given to others. It is a critical infrastructure that is in demand especially now, in times of crisis. And it is exactly what is happening now in the case of Gazprom and its storage in Haidach," Gewessler said.
Austrian Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer told the Austrian media that the russian gas monopoly Gazprom, which owns one of the largest Central European gas storage facilities, must fill it with gas. Otherwise, it will be assigned to other companies.
According to Nehammer, he also warned russian president vladimir putin that the Austrian government would take the large underground gas storage facility in Haidach from Gazprom if the russian gas monopolist did not use it.
The underground gas storage facility in Haidach, near Salzburg, is the second largest storage facility in Central Europe. It can store a quarter of Austria's annual gas consumption. According to Austrian media, the storage facility, owned by the russian gas company Gazprom, is currently completely empty. It should also hold a strategic gas reserve, which Austria needs in case of a possible stop of supplies.