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Gas prices rise in freezing Europe after explosion and pipeline closure

13 December 2017

The explosion set off a fire, which operator Gas Connect said was completely extinguished by mid-afternoon.

One person died in the blast while a further 18 were injured, one seriously, according to officials.

On Twitter, Austrian police said the situation was under control and a technical fault had caused the blast.

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Squads are now searching for people in the rubble, and locals have been warned to stay away from the area. Several fire brigades were called to fight the flames while rescue workers treated the injured.

Asked what rate flows would resume at, a spokesman for Gas Connect Austria said they would be built up progressively and further information would be provided on Wednesday morning. The facility was "shut down in a controlled state and is offline", the company said.

Slovakia's main gas transit route to Austria was suspended after the explosion, Slovak pipeline operator Eustream said.

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Baumgarten is an important hub for European gas transit. The affected gas terminal distributes gas delivered from Russian Federation and Norway to Germany, Italy, France, Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary.

Gas Connect Austria run the hub which handles 40 billion cubic metres of gas per year which on top of supplying in its own country also feeds Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary. Russia's Gazprom Export said it was working on redirecting gas flows and trying to secure uninterrupted supplies to clients.

The ministry stated there are "no problems with supply", and that consumers are unaffected due to sufficient gas reserves in storage facilities.

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Gas prices rise in freezing Europe after explosion and pipeline closure