Austria must do without Russian gas until 2027. This was the plan announced by Energy Minister Leonor Gavesler (Greens) in April 2022, two months after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which violated international law. The minister talked about three pillars with which she wanted to achieve Putin’s gas separation. This includes, firstly, a reduction in gas consumption, secondly, the expansion of the company’s own production of biogas and green hydrogen, and thirdly, greater diversification, for example through the import of liquefied gas.
Gewesler was confident that a common European approach would be most successful. This hope has so far proved illusory.
A year and a half later it is clear that many other EU states continue to import Russian gas as usual, even if they officially deny it – eXXpress reported. And there is no question of breaking Putin’s relations with gas in Austria. On the contrary: the ratio has recently increased and in September was 80 percent for the first time – a record!
On the “Austrian information portal on the energy situation”, the Energy Ministry generally justifies itself with lower gas imports. It says there, “This high ratio is put into perspective when looking at gas volume.” On closer inspection it turned out to be an excuse.
First, one wonders what happened to the much-anticipated diversification. Non-Russian gas sources include Norwegian gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG), as well as – to a lesser extent – gas from North Africa and Central Asia. In September their stake was only 20 percent. In September last year it was 79 percent (!). But this is not the only objection.
Gavesler would therefore have implemented only the first pillar of his plan: less gas in general. However, upon closer inspection, even this official justification does not hold true. If you compare the absolute volume of gas imported from Russia in the three months of July, August and September with comparable months last year, the absolute numbers are even higher.
In other words: Austria imported more Russian gas in the third quarter of 2023 (July to September) than in the comparable period last year. The fact is that the share of Russian gas has increased also because Austria has imported less gas from other sources. If this trend continues, Austria will import only Russian gas by 2027.
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