An explosion and fire at Austria's Baumgarten gas hub will temporarily reduce gas transit via Ukraine and slightly affect gas supply from Europe to Ukraine, gas transport monopoly Ukrtransagaz said on Tuesday.
As traders scrambled to secure supplies and wholesale gas prices hit highs not seen since 2013, familiar questions about security of supply re-emerged.
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Austrian authorities said the explosion was triggered by a "technical cause", without providing further details. Reportedly, the explosion occurred in Baumgarten-EN-March (Austria).
Baumgartan passes 40 billion cubic meters of gas annually, which is about 10 percent of Europe's gas imports.
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Initially, the company said 18 people were injured - though local police later raisedthat number to 21, noting that one person suffered serious injury.
The situation is now under control, according to the fire service, and extinguishing is now under way. "This caused a spark, a gas leak and a fire". It also receives liquefied natural gas (LNG) on board ships via Rotterdam and has vast underground storage facilities.
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Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin spent all of the previous day preparing for his 13th such press conference. The country's economy returned to growth only at the end of past year with a tepid 0.3 percent expansion.
Reportedly, the explosion occurred at the pumping station, which pumps gas from Russian Federation.
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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The court said it would pass an interim order on the issue tomorrow. But now the deadline has been postponed to March 31. It was earlier extended to February 6, next year.
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