Gas pipes and associated specific gear. EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT


Austria confirms its largest domestic gas discovery in decades


Austrian oil and gas company OMV said it has made the biggest gas discovery in Austria in the past 40 years and now expects its natural gas production to increase by 50 per cent.

The OMV-operated well, situated in Lower Austria, underwent drilling operations for five months and reached a final depth of 5,000 metres.

Preliminary evaluation indicates potential recoverable resources of approximately 48 terawatt hours, or 28 million barrels-of-oil-equivalent (boe).

OMV chief executive Alfred Stern said: “As we continue to work on our strategy to diversify our supply sources of natural gas, this new find marks a major contribution to the natural gas supply of our customers, especially in Austria, with an expected increase of our local production.”

The company is currently considering options to further appraise the field and also to fast-track development in conjunction with its operated gas facility in Aderklaa, about 10 kilometres from the discovery, it said.

Speaking at a conference call on July 28, Stern said the discovery is seen as “economically feasible” even in the current relatively low gas-price environment in Europe.

This year, OMV plans to allocate between €200 million and €250 million for exploration and appraisal efforts, compared to €202 million invested in 2022.

According to the company’s latest financial report, it anticipates a decline in oil and gas production for the full year of 2023, expecting it to fall by more than 8 per cent to 360,000 boe per day.

The decrease is attributed to the exclusion of volumes of oil and gas produced by its joint venture with Gazprom in Russia, as well as “natural decline” in Norway and Romania.

Austria was particularly reliant on gas from Russia, with approximately 80 per cent of its domestic consumption sourced from the East, before the war in Ukraine.

That dependency was partly a result of the gas agreements Vienna ha established with the Soviet Union, which began in the 1960s and were based on Austria’s commitment to maintaining neutrality and non-alignment.