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Austria: Gazprom must restock storage site or face competition

Published May 13,2022

The Austrian government has threatened to take measures against Gazprom for failing to fill a key gas storage facility near the Bavarian border.

The Haidach gas storage facility is also one that is important for German supplies.

The issue of ensuring such facilities are full has swung into focus amid the war in Ukraine and related fear of energy shortages as Germany and other countries seek to reduce their dependence on Russian supplies, in order to avoid funding Moscow's invasion of its neighbour.

Vienna plans to look to other companies to fill the facility if Gazprom, which is partly owned by the Russian government, fails to fill it, the Austrian Environment and Energy Ministry said.

Companies belonging to the Gazprom Group use the Haidach site and Austrian law would need to be changed in order for other suppliers to be able to use it. "We are now creating the legal framework," Chancellor Karl Nehammer told the Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

Haidach, which is close to Salzburg, is one of Europe's largest underground natural gas storage facilities. It is important for both Germany and Austria, it is used to supply Germany, and part of the gas pumped there is then pumped back to supply the provinces of Tyrol and Vorarlberg.

"It's use it or lose it," Nehammer said. "If you use it, everything is OK, if you don't use it, other companies can access it."