OMV demands EU gas commitment

The head of Austria’s leading oil and gas company has appealed to political leaders to take a stand for gas as a key future source of energy.

Gerhard Roiss, who has headed OMV AG since 2011, told the Kurier newspaper that the European Union (EU) should make clear whether it supported the search for and production of gas. “It has not issued a clear statement in this regard yet,” Roiss criticised.

Roiss – whose company has almost 30,000 employees – described gas as the “cleanest among all fossil energy sources.” Speaking to the Kurier, he stressed that gas would be available for several hundreds of years in the whole world.

Roiss said OMV’s key mission in the coming winters would be to ensure the full provision with gas in Austria. He pointed out that Russia reduced its distribution of gas to Western Europe by around 30 per cent in the past winter period.

The OMV chief – who acted as vice chairman of the Viennese company for several years before taking over the agendas of long-time CEO Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer in April 2011 – appealed to the EU to make clear whether it backed shale gas search initiatives in Europe.

Roiss said that the European economy’s competitiveness might wane in the coming years due to the USA’s increasing shale gas production. “The United States started developing the potential of shale gas resources 10 years ago. The price for gas has halved compared to Europe to this day. These developments will of course affect European industry,” Roiss said.

The OMV chief – who claimed that the United States of America could become a gas-exporting nation – warned from putting an excessive focus on renewable energy sources. Roiss suggested to create a “bouquet of flowers” of all available energy resources and technologies to ensure full electricity and heating supply in the foreseeable future.

OMV has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange (WBAG) since 1987. One share of the firm – in which Austria holds a stake of 31.5 per cent – was worth 27 Euros at midday today (Tues). OMV had a turnover of 34 billion Euros last year. This was an increase of 34 per cent compared to the previous year. This development suggests that the enterprise managed to compensate a significant temporary decrease of oil production in Libya and Yemen due to the countries’ uprising.

OMV is one of Austria’s most powerful brands. It is the main shareholder of Romanian energy sector giant Petrom. It also owns a majority interest in Turkish petrol station management company Petrol Ofisi. OMV will invest 2.4 billion Euros into various projects in the coming 10 years altogether, according to Roiss. The company chairman also said he was confident that a new efficiency programme would help save 700 million Euros within the coming two years.