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The head of the Austrian Ministry of Energy intends to replace gas supplies from the Russian Federation with fuel from biowaste.

Austrian Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler intends to replace supplies of Russian hydrocarbons with the production of biogas from organic waste. The head of the Ministry of Energy announced this at a press conference after a meeting of the government of the republic, which approved the corresponding bill. “Every manure heap has its own power plant – this is now becoming a reality thanks to the Renewable Gas Law. The idea is impressive in its simplicity. Instead of Russian natural gas in Austria, we rely on biogas, which farmers can produce themselves. Biological waste is converted into valuable energy. This agreement – an important step towards independence and protection of our climate. After all, when using biomethane, additional greenhouse gases harmful to the climate are not formed. <…> Let’s together help this law come into force as soon as possible,” noted the head of the Austrian Ministry of Energy, addressing the negotiators in parliament.

According to the bill, by 2040 it is planned to replace natural gas with green fuel from processed food and wood waste in industry and household consumption. The document sets target parameters. In particular, by 2030, Austrian utilities must ensure that they supply at least 9.75% biogas to their customers. Now the bill must receive the approval of the National Council (lower house of parliament), and for this the ruling coalition will have to secure 2/3 of the votes, that is, receive support from the opposition. Earlier, Gewessler said that Vienna must prepare a way out of the agreements on the supply of Russian gas, which were concluded by the OMV concern. The company itself told TASS that OMV, if necessary, is ready to supply its clients in Austria with 100% gas not from Russia, but before abandoning gas from the Russian Federation, an appropriate regulatory framework should be created.

According to the Austrian Ministry of Energy, the share of Russian natural gas in Austria’s energy balance reached 98% in December 2023, this is a record high since the start of the special military operation in Ukraine. In February 2022 it was 79%. In June 2018, an agreement was signed to extend the existing contract between Gazprom Export LLC and OMV Gas Marketing & Trading GmbH for the supply of Russian natural gas to Austria until 2040. Previously, the contract was valid until 2028. The contract is based on the take-or-pay principle, meaning OMV is obliged to transfer money even if it does not actually take the gas.

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