Austria intervention under consideration to ensure gas supply
Vienna, Dec 6 (Reuters) - One option being examined for how Austria can ensure its medium to long term gas supply is for the state to take on responsibility, public holding company OeBAG said on Tuesday.
The group, which holds 31.5% of oil, gas and chemical company OMV, has been asked to look at how Austria's security of gas supply can be secured independently of Russia.
"OeBAG is analysing the various options for action on behalf of the Ministry of Finance as to how the Republic's gas supply can be secured in the medium to long term," a spokesperson said.
"An assumption of responsibility by the Republic is one of the theoretical possibilities being analysed," they added.
OMV Chief Executive Alfred Stern this week proposed nationalising its gas trading subsidiary, which holds contracts with Russia's Gazprom running until 2040.
OMV does not have a supply mandate and cannot cover all of Austria, Stern told the Kurier newspaper on Monday, adding that OMV's gas subsidiary would be a good basis for a national gas trading company that could bundle all market activities.
Austrian Finance Minister Magnus Brunner last week cast doubt on any potential purchase of OMV's upstream assets by private investors.
A consortium around Norwegian oil and gas manager Sverre Skogen previously signalled interest in parts of OMV and wants to guarantee Austria's security of supply with natural gas in return for its highly profitable upstream business.
However, it is unclear how the gas promised by Norway in return would be transported to Austria.
(Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, Writing by Miranda Murray; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Alexander Smith)