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Austria still wary of newly agreed EU gas price cap

The recent agreement to cap gas prices in the EU at €180 per megawatt-hour (MWh) poses a risk to the security of supply in Austria, Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler said in Brussels

By: EBR - Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2022

“We are still dependent on pipeline gas,” said Gewessler about Austria’s strong reliance on Russian pipeline gas. “On the other hand, we must not let ourselves be driven crazy by Russian propaganda,” she added, referring to the Kremlin’s threats to halt gas flows should the EU decide on a gas price cap.
“We are still dependent on pipeline gas,” said Gewessler about Austria’s strong reliance on Russian pipeline gas. “On the other hand, we must not let ourselves be driven crazy by Russian propaganda,” she added, referring to the Kremlin’s threats to halt gas flows should the EU decide on a gas price cap.

by Nikolaus J. Kurmayer

The recent agreement to cap gas prices in the EU at €180 per megawatt-hour (MWh) poses a risk to the security of supply in Austria, Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler said in Brussels after EU energy ministers reached a deal on the cap after months of negotiations.

Under the agreement, gas prices on the EU’s main trading hub will be capped should they exceed €180 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for three consecutive working days and if they are higher than global gas prices by more than €35/MWh for the same three days.

While the EU’s pro-capping countries hope this will help better control gas prices, Austria remains wary of the last minute provision.

The gas price cap could “help bring prices down”, but as it had been agreed in the run-up to the vote that the measure would be applied to all European trading hubs, it poses a “certain risk” to gas supplies, explained Gewessler on Tuesday.

“The question of security of supply arises here,” she added. In theory, the agreement was supposed to apply to the Dutch gas trading hub “Title Transfer Facility” (TTF), though its terms suggest it could also be extended to other gas trading hubs.

“The new extension to all gas trading hubs that were added Monday morning is simply a risk for Austria in terms of security of supply,” she stressed in Brussels.

“We are still dependent on pipeline gas,” said Gewessler about Austria’s strong reliance on Russian pipeline gas. “On the other hand, we must not let ourselves be driven crazy by Russian propaganda,” she added, referring to the Kremlin’s threats to halt gas flows should the EU decide on a gas price cap.

At the same time, however, Austria was extra spooked as one of the Russian pipelines supplying the country with gas spontaneously exploded on Tuesday, killing three people.

“Gazprom has announced that delivery volumes will be compensated via other routes” and that the situation is being observed carefully, the Austrian government informed.

*first published in: Euractiv.com

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