Austrian gas pipeline blast kills at least one, injures dozens more

Marie Harrington
December 13, 2017

Wholesale gas prices in Britain rose to their highest level since 2013 yesterday as a "perfect storm" of cold weather, the closure of the Forties pipeline in the North Sea and an explosion at a gas plant in Austria hit European markets. Several fire brigades were called to fight the flames while rescue workers treated the injured.

FNB said that Europe's diverse gas supply origins and storage facilities would allow some shifting of gas to other routes to help maintain internal supply security.

Gas Connect Austria said the supplies would resume as soon as possible.

"Things are under control but according to preliminary reports there are several people injured", police spokesman Edmund Tragschitz told AFP. Police and Gas Connect Austria said they believed a technical fault was to blame.

"An explosion occurred at 8:45am (local time), followed by a fire".

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The blaze was reduced to smaller fires and then extinguished by Tuesday afternoon, allowing experts to assess the damage. The site's operator, Gas Connect Austria, also preliminarily attributed the explosion to a technical cause and took the facility offline. Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia and Italy are recipients of the pipeline gas.

Italy, which sources 30% of its gas via the pipeline in Austria, declared a state of emergency.

A UK National Grid spokesman said there was sufficient gas supply to meet demand amid multiple outages, underlining the breadth of concern about supply after the Baumgarten blast.

The shock waves of the blast have already been felt far beyond the boundaries of the station, which serves as a crucial hinge point between gas suppliers in Russian Federation and Norway and pipelines sending that gas on to Italy, the United Kingdom and other European countries. Russia's Gazprom Export said it was working on redirecting gas flows and trying to secure uninterrupted supplies to clients.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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