Massive Austria Gas Plant Blast Plunges Europe Into Energy Crisis
Pipeline deliveries across large parts of the continent have been thrown into chaos as a result of the deadly blast at the Baumgaerten site in eastern Austria.
In Britain, Europe’s biggest gas market, the price of gas for immediate delivery soared by 35 per cent to 92p per therm, its highest level since 2013.
The Italian wholesale day-ahead price surged nearly doubled to £41.44 per megawatt-hour, its highest ever recorded level.
And Italy has declared a state of emergency as a result of the fuel crisis with industry minister Carlo Calenda warning of a “serious” energy supply problem.
Firefighters at the scene of the Austria gas plant blast
Russia’s Gazprom Export said it was working on redirecting gas flows and trying to secure uninterrupted supplies to clients.
At least one person was killed and 18 others injured, one seriously, when the explosion tore through the plant 25 miles northeast of Austrian capital Vienna.
Gas Connect Austria, which operates the Baumgarten site in eastern Austria, said the blaze had been brought under control and police added that the cause was a technical defect.
The plant received natural gas imports from Russia and Norway and is Austria’s largest with a capacity of 40 billion cubic metres per year.
The hub is important for European gas transit, with natural gas transported to Baumgarten via Slovakia and Germany along several cross-border pipelines.
Gas flows are then delivered throughout Europe via Austria’s transmission network.
Gas Connect Austria said its deliveries to Austria’s southern and southeastern borders were affected by the blast until further notice.