Austrian industry warns Russian gas embargo would be ‘catastrophic’

“Cutting the gas tap so much overnight would have a serious impact on our daily lives, our energy supply and our economy,” Georg Knill, President of the Federation of Austrian Industries, said on Thursday (10 March). [Shutterstock/posteriori]

Sanctions on Russian gas would have a devastating effect on the Austrian economy, the country’s industry players who have so far backed the EU sanctions regime against Russia, said.

While EU leaders debate the next sanctions package against Russia and potential avenues for diversifying Europe’s gas supply, Austrian industry has warned that stopping Russian gas exports would be based on “unrealistic assessments”.

“Cutting the gas tap so much overnight would have a serious impact on our daily lives, our energy supply and our economy,” Georg Knill, President of the Federation of Austrian Industries, said on Thursday (10 March).

Austria imports 80% of its gas from Russia and heavily depends on its steady flow, especially for its industry and energy power plants.

While Austria is already looking for alternative suppliers, especially in the Gulf region, it is unlikely that an alternative to Russian imports will be found soon.

“Austria cannot reduce its high dependence on Russian gas supplies overnight – not even from one year to the next,” Wolfgang Urbantschitsch, Chairman of the Austrian energy regulator E-Control has said, adding that the idea of quickly ending Russian gas deliveries has not been “thought through.”

Austrian industry is also opposed to the European Commission’s plans to reduce gas imports from Russia by two-thirds in the coming year.

“To be clear on this: we cannot sustain the economy as we know it without gas from Russia,” Knill warned.

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