Explosion at Austria’s main gas plant forces Italy to declare state of emergency

Rome [Italy]: An explosion that ripped through Austria’s main gas pipeline hub killed one person and injured at least 18, prompting Italy to declare a state of emergency.

Due to the explosion, snow-hit southern Europe could face energy shortages after authorities warned that Austrian pipelines were likely to be out of action for days.

Italy’s industry minister declared a state of emergency due to a lack of gas supplies. The explosion site, Baumgarten, is a key distribution and reception hub for gas exports and imports, including from Russia, Europe’s biggest gas supplier.

One of the 18 casualties was airlifted to Vienna’s general hospital with serious injuries but was later confirmed to be in a non-critical condition, the Guardian reported.

The Vienna-based gas company estimated that it would take “days, not hours” to restore supply lines, according to Der Standard newspaper.

The Guardian quoted the Austrian Police, as saying, that the explosion in Baumgarten had been caused by a technical problem.

Carlo Calenda, the Italian industry minister, said the country “must grapple with a serious energy supply problem and underlined the need to develop the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The project is designed to give Italy a new supply route but has been delayed by protests.” (ANI)