Austria cannot simply stop paying for Russian gas, this requires an appropriate legal basis, and now there is none, according to the Head of the OMV Austrian oil company that is the largest one in Central Europe, Alfred Stern. He added that industrial enterprises and energy producers consume more than 70 per cent of the gas supplied to the country.
The head of the company added that in case of abandoning Russian fuel, it will be more difficult for Austria to maintain economic activity. According to him, the country manages to provide heat to households that consume about 20 per cent of gas per year. However, according to Politics Today, much more energy carriers are needed for industry and energy production, 40 per cent and about 35 per cent, respectively.
“I don’t think we are ready for an embargo today. Unless we’re willing to accept the consequences. Because we need to clearly understand one thing: our gas supply is provided not by our own production in Europe, but by supplies from Russia,” Stern told the Kurier newspaper.
Earlier, in an interview with Die Presse, Stern said that some EU countries could do without Russian gas, but not Austria. According to him, it is “in a difficult situation” because the country “has no access to the sea, no access to liquefied petroleum gas.”
“The rejection of Russian gas is impossible if we are not ready to accept the huge consequences. Some countries could do it, but for Austria it is impossible this year […] The phase-out of Russian gas has its price,” said the Head of OMV.
OMV and Gazprom have signed a take-or-pay contract for the supply of fuel to the Russian Federation, its term expires in 2040. Stern clarified that the company’s contract with Gazprom implies payment for gas in euros.
“We are waiting for information from Gazprom. At the moment, our contract is in euros. There is no reason to pay otherwise,” Stern explained.
However, it was noted that OMV is now considering ways to pay for Russian fuel that would meet the requirements of sanctions. In the head’s opinion, the company is “on the right track, but not yet at the goal.”
The businessman also shared his opinion about the oil embargo: according to him, Austria already does not use oil from Russia at its refineries. At the same time, he admitted that sanctions against Russian oil would cause high fuel prices, since Russia provides large volumes of production. According to Gazprom, in 2020 Austria bought more than 13 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia, ranking fourth among European countries in this indicator.
Source: RIA Novosti