Austria gas plant blast kills one

Frederick Owens
December 13, 2017

The explosion took place in Baumgarten, Austria - which is the largest gas reception point and main distribution hub in Austria for countries like Russian Federation - which is Europe's biggest gas supplier.

An explosion at a key European natural gas hub in Austria caused severe damage and injuries, roiling markets across the continent.

News of the blast sent gas prices in Europe soaring on fears it would restrict supply as winter sets in.

An explosion at Austria's Baumgarten gas facility has interrupted supplies to Italy.

"With the restart of operation on the worldwide pipeline systems, it will be possible to resume transit through Austria, thereby restoring security of supply for the affected countries", it added.

The facility has been shut down, Gas Connect spokesman Armin Teichert said. Among the slightly wounded were "employees of contractors from six other countries" apart from Austria, the operator said, without elaborating.

The situation is now under control, according to the fire service, and extinguishing is now under way.

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Police wrote on Twitter that the explosion was triggered by a "technical cause", but didn't elaborate and said that local authorities are investigating. Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia and Italy are recipients of the pipeline gas.

Italy industry minister says the gas blast shows Italy has a serious energy supply problem.

FT reports that "in Italy, day-ahead gas prices nearly doubled, while Dutch prices also rose sharply".

The company said its deliveries to Austria's southeastern borders were affected by the explosion. That part is not used for global pipelines, a spokesman said.

"There is still plenty of storage across Europe to cope with this", energy consultant Massimo Di-Odoardo told the FT.

Gas flows are then delivered throughout Europe via Austria's transmission network. Russia's Gazprom Export said it was working on redirecting gas flows and trying to secure uninterrupted supplies to clients. United Kingdom gas for immediate delivery soared to 90 pence (€52.38) per therm, or around €34 per MWh.

"The gas supply to Italian consumers will in any case be ensured by an increased gas supply from national subterranean reserves", the government said.

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