Austria’s largest company, OMV AG, has been the Russian gas industry’s main business partner for over 45 years. Until 1994, this company was 100% state-owned. OMV’s current shareholders are as follows: the Austrian government (via the Austrian Industrial Holding) with a 31.5% stake, the International Petroleum Investment Company of Abu Dhabi with 24.9%, OMV itself with 0.3%, and 43.3% in free float. The company is headquartered in Vienna.
In April 2004, OMV Gas GmbH (a 100% subsidiary of OMV AG) became the legal successor to contracts signed between Gazprom Export and OMV AG.
In 1968, OMV became the first Western company to sign a long-term natural gas purchasing contract with the USSR. From the start of supplies to January 1, 2016, Austria received over 190 bcm of Russian natural gas, including 4.40 bcm in 2015.
Due to Austrian gas market deregulation and the restructuring of OMV AG natural gas trade operations, the parties concluded an agreement that EconGas would replace OMV Gas International as the purchaser of Russian gas.
On September 28, 2006, Gazprom Export cancelled its existing contracts with OMV AG and another local company GWH (renamed Gazprom Austria (GPA) from February 27, 2013). These contracts were replaced with new ones signed by Gazprom Export with EconGas, GPA, and Centrex for Russian natural gas deliveries to Austria (from November 1, 2006 to December 31, 2027). GPA and Centrex also gained the right to direct gas sales in the Austrian market: specifically, in the provinces of Carinthia, Styria, and Salzburg (with the two companies signing corresponding contracts with end consumers).
Together with the Austrian company RAG and Germany’s WINGAS, Gazprom Export is involved in the joint use of the Haidach underground gas storage (UGS) in Austria. In 2015 the aggregate working capacity of Haidach had been agreed to increase by 150 million cubic meters. At the same time, its peak daily withdrawal capacity grew by 1.55 million cubic meters. As a result, the UGS working capacity reached 2.98 billion cubic meters and the peak daily output — 29.9 million cubic meters. The storage capacity had been boosted without additional investments.
Austria plays an important role in natural gas transportation, providing transit for around 30 bcm of Gazprom Group’s gas each year to Italy, France, Germany, Hungary, and Slovenia. The following pipelines are this trunkline system’s main components: TAG (Trans Austria Gas pipeline for transit to Italy), SOL (Süd-Ost-Leitung pipeline to Slovenia), WAG (West-Austria-Gasleitung to Germany and France), HAG (Hungary-Austria Gas pipeline), and Penta West (linking the Oberkappel and Burghausen points on the Austrian- German border).
As well as its trunklines, Austria also has a distribution network totalling around 25,000 kilometers.
In June 2015, Gazprom, E.ON, Shell, and OMV signed the Memorandum of Intent providing for the joint construction of two strings of Nord Stream 2. On September 4, 2015, Gazprom, BASF/Wintershall, ENGIE, E.ON, OMV, and Shell signed the Shareholders Agreement to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline system.
On December 14, 2016, Gazprom and OMV signed the Basic Agreement regarding the asset swap. According to the Agreement, Gazprom will receive a 38.5 per cent stake in OMV Norge AS, a company focused on geological exploration and production in Norway. In exchange, OMV will obtain a 24.98 per cent stake in the project for developing Blocks 4 and 5 of the Achimov formations in the Urengoy oil, gas and condensate field.
Gazprom press releases:
Austria’s demand for Russian gas continues soaring – 16.11.2016