Vienna is currently the host of the European Gas Conference aimed at promoting dialogue between Europe and its main suppliers, such as Russia. Executives of Russia’s Gazprom, Austria’s OMV, Germany’s Uniper and other energy companies are participating in the event.
“The European Gas Conference is the ideal platform for European Institutions, European Member States, private companies and supply countries to come together and address questions on Europe’s energy future. Together with efforts to enhance [European] domestic production and endorse new energy sources it is crucial to promote a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia,” Leitner said in his welcoming address to the participants of the conference.
Leitner noted that the European gas sector had met several challenges in the past year, namely the emergence of new supply sources, a comeback of coal in the power sector, a decline in domestic production and a severe fall in oil and gas prices.
“However, one fact remains certain: natural gas is and will remain a central pillar of the European energy mix. Natural gas is an ideal energy source being secure, affordable and sustainable and promoting its role ensuring Europe energy supply security [is] key,” the Austrian executive added.
Russia is one of the European Union’s largest suppliers of energy, exporting oil, natural gas, uranium, and coal to the bloc. Together with Norway, Russia supplies over half of the EU gas and over 40 percent of its oil.
Gazprom and OMV are cooperating on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which aims to deliver gas to the European Union bypassing Ukraine.
In December 2016, the two companies signed a final agreement on asset swap, under which the Austrian firm received a 24.98-percent stake in a project to develop two blocks at an oil, gas and condensate field in north-central Russia. In exchange, Gazprom received a 38.5-percent participation in OMV Norge AS, which has 32 licenses and the OMV is operating five of them.