Austria on Wednesday unveiled an emergency plan to reduce its dependence on Russian gas to reduce possible supplies from Moscow amid rising tensions over the war in Ukraine.
Under the plan, the country aims to reduce 80 to 70 percent of total gas from Russia.
“These measures will strongly reduce our dependence on Russian gas,” Energy and Climate Affairs Minister Leonor Gewesler told reporters.
For the first time, the government will create a strategic reserve with non-Russian gas accessible to all industries, covering the total cost for two months in winter.
It will also prevent storage facilities from being empty.
The storage facility of the Russian power giant Gazprom is empty near Salzburg.
Gewessler said it was “no longer acceptable” for Gazprom’s affiliate GSA not to stock up.
Other suppliers will have access to “if Gazprom does nothing” benefits, Gewesler added. “It’s absolutely fair.”
The European Union aims to reduce its dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds this year, but countries like Germany rely on Russian supplies and are reluctant to ban it outright, fearing it could hurt their economies.
Heidach reservoirs are connected to the German gas network, but it will now be connected to the Austrian network so that domestic clients can get supplies, he said.
Austrian gas storage capacity is 26 percent, and the goal is to reach 80 percent before the next hot season, the government said.
In the coming days, the lawmakers will have to take action by a two-thirds majority.
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