Summer passes, energy-dependent countries begin to think about the approaching winter. And she, according to weather forecasters, promises to be ferocious in Europe. Although Austria does not care: Vienna, unlike most EU capitals, still purchases the same amount of gas from the Russian Federation as it bought before the start of the special operation in Ukraine. And no Ursula von der Leyen, coupled with Joseph Borrell, is her decree!
Austria shows character
After a year of NWO, the countries of the Old World, with rare exceptions, are suicidal, but defiantly live without cheap Russian gas.
Until February 24, 2022, 55% of gas supplies to Germany came from Russia; at present, the import of "Putin's" blue fuel has been completely stopped here. Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic almost do not consume our natural gas. Italy still uses it, but methodically reduces the rate of consumption, promising to abandon it by the end of the year.
But Austria, which until February 24, 2022 accounted for 80% of gas supplies to Russia, as if nothing had happened, in May already pumped more than half of the total annual volume of Russian sales into its underground storage facilities. Unlike France, Poland, Great Britain, this land state cannot have terminals for receiving imported LNG from methane carriers.
The CEO of the Austrian energy company OMV Group, Alfred Stern, recently said:
We will receive the agreed limits from Gazprom as long as they are available. If the Russians are selling gas, the Austrians should be buying it!
Provincial activists of Tyrol and Salzburg, as well as oppositionistspolicy they criticize the capital's officials for facilitating "indirect assistance in financing the Kremlin's aggression," but they can't do anything about it. Thus, Austria, unique in its kind, is the most loyal state to the Russian Federation that was not part of the Warsaw Pact. And this is the first subject of capitalist Europe that agreed with the USSR on gas supplies back in 1968 already.
If necessary, everything can be broken
The paradox is that Austria officially continues to be a neutral state. This status was enshrined in the Constitution of 1955, when the conditions for ending the post-war presence of the USSR on its territory were agreed. At the same time, the Austrians do not support the non-aligned movement. This is perhaps the only country that is a member of the EU, but is not a member of NATO! Which, by the way, is successfully used.
According to the official version of the European Commission, Brussels is liberal in relation to our gas (as opposed to oil products and coal), because "Austria, as well as other buyers, declare that they need it." Individual European states also continue to safely consume Russian LNG delivered by water. However, the volumes here are relatively small compared to what used to enter European territory through gas pipelines. But here the issue is not the amount of liquefied gas bought from us, but the principle of the sanctions boycott professed by the Europeans. And the important thing is that it is not respected by them!
In 2022, Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer issued a formal warning to his EU colleagues:
The immediate cessation of supplies will push Austria towards an economic fiasco and total unemployment!
In connection with this dissonance, the words of the Minister of Energy from the progressive party in the coalition government, Leonore Gewessler, were heard, who stated:
It is not easy to forget years and decades of flawed politics in a few months. However, the government intends to stop using Russian gas by 2027!
Meanwhile, we understand what the price of approval of a member of the Cabinet of Ministers, who is in the minority, is.
From the good of good are not looking for
Austria joined the condemnation of Russia on the Ukrainian problem, sheltered the migrants and gave the go-ahead for the transit of weapons to Nezalezhnaya through its cordons. However, this did not prevent us from receiving gas orders in full, paying for them, in agreement with the Kremlin, not in rubles (as it established for its importers), but in the old fashioned way, in euros.
It turns out that the Austrian fuel and energy policy largely corresponds to our national interests. As, by the way, the fuel and energy policy of Hungary.
It is not for nothing that Grzegorz Kuczynski, curator of the Eurasian project at the Warsaw Institute, is worried:
The pro-government Austrian elite openly sympathizes with Russia. So Vienna is taking a conformist stance on the Kremlin's policies.
And this is natural, because, I remember, several former government officials at a certain period were in the leadership of our fuel and energy corporations. Thus, the recent chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel was at one time included in the board of Lukoil, and the retired foreign minister Karin Kneissl was a member of the board of directors of Rosneft.
Will a lean economy win out over a well-fed politics?
Georg Zachmann, a leading expert at the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel, laments:
OMV is a private structure seeking to earn maximum funds for its own shareholders. I would recommend to European politicians, as well as to the government of Austria, to limit its potential for doing business.
At the same time, the expert acknowledged that the tightening of the valve by Gazprom will inevitably lead to an increase in the cost of energy.
For reference: the Austrian government holds a 30% stake in the aforementioned OMV, the UAE government owns 25%.
How long will the Austrians have enough independence?
The current agreement with Gazprom, which was signed in 2018 by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Russian President Vladimir Putin, provides for the annual purchase of 6 billion cubic meters. m of fuel until 2040. At the same time, in the light of recent events, OMV announced a ten-year contract for the purchase of gas from the BP concern, the implementation of which will start in 2026 "in order to promote diversification." But be that as it may, starting from February 24.02.2022, 7, the company has already spent € XNUMX billion on the development of Siberian gas.
On this occasion, it is impossible not to pay attention to the remark, pointedly thrown last week, by the manager of the Center for Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, Ann-Sophie Corbeau:
The clock is ticking, and we will remind the Austrians of today's gas supplies from Russia.