European gas flows back after fatal Austrian accident

Nearly two dozen people hurt and one person died as a result of an explosion Tuesday at a compressor station.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Dec. 13, 2017 at 5:49 AM
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Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Natural gas is flowing again to a compressor station in Austria and supplies are moving to nearby countries, a subsidiary of Austrian energy company OMV said.

Twenty-one people were injured and one person died in an explosion Tuesday morning local time at the Baumgarten gas facility in Austria. Gas Connect Austria said Austrian citizens and workers from six other countries were among the injured.

The company, a subsidiary of Austrian energy company OMV, said it was able to resume operations at the station late Tuesday at the same level as before the incident.

"This means that all transit systems are functional and operational in all directions," the subsidiary stated Wednesday. "The domestic supply is also secure."

The incident caused ripple effects through the European energy market. Italy, which relies heavily on its neighbors for natural gas, said the market situation was in a state of emergency after the blast. Estimates from commodity pricing group S&P Global Platts said that, after the blast, there was "zero capacity" for the supply of Russian natural sent through Austria to the Italian market.

Russian natural gas company Gazprom, a partner with OMV on several projects and one of the leading European suppliers of gas, said Tuesday it was considering its transit options to move its supplies around Austria.

The Austrian government said that gas and electric supplies in the country weren't impacted directly by the blast.

The company said the exact cause of the incident is unclear and police are on scene investigating, but noted explosion appeared to be the result of a technical fault.

OMV reported an operating net profit in the third quarter of $933 million, up 52 percent from the same period last year. Its net production increased 13 percent to 341,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

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