Gas will become an even more important energy source for Europe following Germany's decision to shut all its nuclear reactors by 2022, the European Union's energy commissioner said.
Germany's ruling coalition announced the policy reversal on Monday in reaction to Japan's Fukushima disaster. "We need more gas. After Berlin's decision gas will be a driver of growth," Guenther Oettinger told a conference in Vienna, reports Reuters.
He said the EU-backed Nabucco gas pipeline, which has faced delays and a rise in costs, would be a boon for Austria as well as Europe. Austria's Baumgarten gas hub is the planned end point for the pipeline which aims to bring gas to Europe from the Caspian region and Middle East from 2017 and reduce dependence on Russian gas.
"If Nabucco happens it will also strengthen Austria's economy and the importance of the Vienna hub," he said. Austria's OMV runs Baumgarten and is one of Nabucco's six shareholders. Fresh gas supplies were important because Europe's energy demand was growing but production falling, leaving it very reliant on imports, Oettinger said.