Austria releases oil stocks after refinery malfunction –

A technical problem at oil giant OMV’s Schwechat refinery forced the government on Saturday to release strategic stocks of gasoline as OMV ponders what to do with its investments in Russia.

The government announced the release of 112,000 tons of gasoline and 56,000 tons of diesel. The statement will cover a period of approximately 14 days, while OMV had previously been unable to determine the duration of the refinery’s “technical malfunction”, which damaged the main crude oil distillation unit. .

“We are acting quickly and releasing part of the reserve so that no bottlenecks can occur,” Chancellor Karl Nehammer said.

The Schwechat refinery is one of the largest and most modern inland refineries in Europe where OMV distills and refines crude oil and semi-finished products.

It’s more difficult for OMV, which stopped importing Russian oil in March and now has to grapple with its close trade ties with Russia.

OMV was part of the Western investment consortium that co-financed the now abandoned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with the Kremlin. The company had also extended its long-term contract for gas deliveries with Gazprom until 2040 in 2018, without an exit clause.

OMV will seek a review of the decisions of former CEO Rainer Seele whose investments in Russia and Nord Stream 2 were, in hindsight, a mistake, the chairman of the company’s supervisory board said on Friday.

“It has to be said so clearly: the investments were – seen ex post – a mistake. If we are now to write two billion in the first quarter of 2022, everyone involved must stop trying to defend the decisions,” added Mark Garett, the head of the supervisory board.

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Felix J. Dixon