OMV boss predicts energy price jumps

OMV AG chief Gerhard Roiss has claimed that psychological aspects often matter more regarding the price of oil than fundamental grounds.

Roiss called the increase of car fuel prices a “delicate topic”. He said the price for mineral oil might rather drop in the future than rise further. But Roiss also stressed that he was not aware of trustable indicators for the development of oil prices in the coming years.

The OMV head warned from rising energy prices. He said that the price for energy products and services like car petrol and household heating could be twice as high as these days. The former OMV deputy chief – who has headed the Viennese company since 2011 – identified renewable energy sources as key factor for spiralling expenses.

OMV is one of Austria’s most powerful and internationally successful firms. The oil and gas group achieved a turnover of 34 billion Euros last year, up by 46 per cent compared to 2010. OMV has 29,800 employees. Most of them are engaged abroad. The company, which holds a majority share in Turkish petrol station chain Petrol Ofisi, manages over 400 service stations in Austria.

The company was criticised for failing to accept the invitation to attend a platform discussion organised by Ö1 yesterday evening (Weds). The renowned news and culture radio channel hosted a debate about fuel price developments. People’s Party (ÖVP) Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner, a traffic expert, a service station manager and a public opinion researcher discussed the issue. The debate was broadcast live by Ö1.

Asked to comment on the strong increase of petrol prices in Austria, Roiss told the press that around 60 per cent of the sum drivers paid for fuel were taxes. He refused to comment on Mitterlehner’s decision to create an intensified petrol price monitor. The economy minister announced at the weekend that he wanted to introduce a supervisory mechanism which ensured that Austrian petrol stations did not charge more during holidays than the average price they asked motorists to cough up on the seven to 10 days ahead of driving seasons.

Critics claim that mineral oil suppliers and petrol station managers would simply jack up their prices in the final few days ahead of Easter and other public holiday periods to evade turnover decreases when the demand for fuel rises as many Austrians go on vacation by car. Polls show that a third of Austrian car owners are determined to drive as much as they do now regardless of future petrol price developments. Research also discloses that giving up their vehicles is an unthinkable option for 90 per cent of motorists.