Austrian Gas Pipeline Explosion Disrupts Key EU Supply Hub

Explosion at OMV Gasstation in Baumgarten

AFP GETTY HUGE The explosion occurred this morning

Tuesday's blast at Austria's Baumgarten gas hub, which killed one person and disrupted European gas flows, was most likely caused by a loose seal on a filter cap, operator Gas Connect Austria (GCA) said.

The explosion was at one of Europe's main hubs.

Austrian authorities said the explosion was triggered by a "technical cause", without providing further details.

"With the restart of operation on the worldwide pipeline systems, it will be possible to resume transit through Austria, thereby restoring security of supply for the affected countries", Gas Connect Austria said.

The incident occurred at Gas Connect Austria's hub in Baumgarten shortly before 9 a.m. local time, according to a spokesman.

The Italian wholesale day-ahead price surged 215 percent to 75 euros per megawatt-hour, its highest recorded level. "This caused a spark, a gas leak and a fire".

This of course compounds the energy problem faced in Europe after earlier news that the North Sea Forties pipeline system will be closed for several weeks. "We might well see some competition between Europe and Asia to attract LNG (liquid natural gas, delivered by ship) this winter".

Reportedly, the explosion occurred at the pumping station, which pumps gas from Russian Federation.

Austria's gas regulator E-Control has reportedly said the blast has derailed gas supplies to Italy, Hungary and Slovenia.

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