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Explosion hits Austria's Baumgarten gas hub, Russian flows re-routed


Italian gas price almost doubles to Eur45/MWh on blast

Baumgarten station 'out of service': Gas Connect Austria

Russian gas supplies to Italy nominated at 108 mil cu m Tuesday

An explosion Tuesday at the major European gas hub at Baumgarten in Austria has forced operator OMV to close the facility, with Austrian and Italian gas prices surging in early trading as a result of the blast.

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Russia's Gazprom said it was having to re-route gas supplies to parts of Europe following the explosion.

"[Gazprom] is working on the redistribution of gas flows and is doing its best to secure uninterrupted gas supplies to the clients on this transport route," it said.

Baumgarten is the key entry point for Russian gas into Austria and onward to Italy.

According to Platts Analytics, there is currently zero available capacity for entry into Baumgarten, or into Arnoldstein on the border between Austria and Italy, due to the unavailability of the compressor units at Baumgarten.

Some 108 million cu m of Russian gas was nominated for delivery to Italy via Austria on Tuesday, while German deliveries via the route were nominated at 8 million cu m, Platts Analytics data show.

On Tuesday morning, Italian PSV spot gas was trading at Eur45/MWh, almost double the price assessed by Platts on Monday of Eur23.70/MWh.

Austrian VTP spot prices were up to Eur35/MWh early Tuesday, more than Eur13/MWh higher than the Monday assessment of Eur21.325/MWh.

Transportation system operator Gas Connect Austria said in an update that the Baumgarten station had been closed "in a controlled state."

"It is out of service," the company said, adding that it was unable to give any precise information about the cause and extent of the incident.

The explosion occurred at 9:00 am local time (0800 GMT).

"In the course of the explosion, there was a major fire which is contained except for a few small fires. Currently we know that one person is missing and 18 people are injured," Gas Connect Austria said.

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--Rosemary Griffin,

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--Edited by Alisdair Bowles,