Italy to declare energy emergency after Austrian explosion cuts off gas supply

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"Eighteen people are injured and one is dead", Lower Austria police chief Markus Haindl said in the wake of an explosion at a Austrian OMV oil and gas company's natural gas depot in Baumgarten.

"An explosion occurred this morning before 9:00 a.m. on the grounds of the Baumgarten Natural Gas Station", the company said.

The flow of Russian gas into the hub dropped immediately after the inferno, causing prices in some parts of the continent to soar to unprecedented levels.

Italy will declare a state of emergency after an explosion at a gas plant in Austria cut off supplies from Russian Federation, the Italian energy minister said on Tuesday. Italy has announced a state of emergency yesterday because of stopping supplies, although it stressed that it is not threatened by an immediate energy crisis as there are enough gas reserves.

The cause appeared to be a technical fault, it said.

The operator of Austria's main pipeline hub focused on Wednesday on finding the cause for a deadly blast after successfully bringing gas supplies to neighboring countries back to normal. In an explosion that happened due to technical reasons, one person died and 21 were injured. At least one person was killed and several were injured in the blast.

A home has been destroyed after a reported gas blast
A home has been destroyed after a reported gas blast

There, the wholesale day-ahead gas price surged to a record high of €47 per megawatt-hour, an increase of 97%.

"On the basis of the information now available, supplies could resume today if the first indications on the absence of damage to transport infrastructure are confirmed", it said.

According to a representative of Slovakian operator Eustream, Pavol Kubik, gas supplies from Slovakia to Austria have been suspended as a result of the blast.

Firefighters are seen at the largest natural gas import and distribution station after a gas explosion in Baumgarten, Austria December 12, 2017.

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.

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