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OMV Warns Russia’s Gazprom May Halt Natural Gas Supply to Austria

Russian state giant Gazprom could halt natural gas supply to Austria’s OMV due to a foreign court ruling that could interrupt OMV payments to Gazprom Export, the Austrian firm said in an urgent market message.

OMV’s unit OMV Gas Marketing & Trading GmbH (OGMT) has learned about a foreign court decision obtained by a major European energy company which, if enforced in Austria against OGMT, would require OGMT to make payments under its gas supply contract with Gazprom Export to such European energy company, instead of Gazprom Export.

OMV’s subsidiary doesn’t know if and when such an enforcement might occur, the company said, without specifying the case or the European company in question.  

“In case of such an enforcement, OGMT considers it likely that Gazprom Export will halt supplying gas under the gas supply contract with OGMT, thereby affecting the Austrian gas market. This assessment is based on Gazprom Export’s conduct in similar situations,” OMV said in its message to the market.

The Austrian company assured the market that OGMT “would still be able to supply its contractual customers with gas from alternative, non-Russian sources, through its extensive diversification efforts over the last several years.”

The urgent market message from OMV highlights the vulnerability of Austria’s gas supply, which is still dependent on Russia’s Gazprom.

While Gazprom suspended gas supply to many EU countries in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, Austria and several other central European countries continue to receive gas from Russia.

Earlier this year, Austria, one of the EU members still most dependent on Russian gas, signaled it would be looking to reduce its dependence on Moscow, including by seeking to end a long-term deal that OMV has with Gazprom.

Russian gas deliveries to Europe have fallen off a cliff since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but some European customers in central Europe continue to receive Russian gas via the route through Ukraine and a pipeline via Turkey.

Ukraine has already signaled it would not engage in talks with Russia about an extension of the gas transit deal which expires at the end of 2024.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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