A fiery blast ripped through a major natural gas hub in eastern Austria on Tuesday morning local time, killing at least one person, injuring many others and sending energy prices into a frenzy.
Neighboring Italy's Economic Development Ministry declared an emergency after the explosion interrupted the flow of natural gas to the country, but said Italy's supply of gas would be ensured by existing stockpiles.
But the explosion here impacts natural gas more, and that has sent prices soaring.
Operator Gas Connect Austria said the incident should have no effect on gas deliveries to Austria, Germany and France but those to Italy might be reduced.
"This is an oil pipeline, however the closure will result in some platforms producing both oil and gas to shut", said Ben Spry, head of risk management services at npower.
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Gas Connect Austria said the part of the site affected by the fire was only 100 metres (330 feet) by 100 metres at a site that covers 17 hectares (42 acres). The underground pipeline belongs to the Vienna-based OMV group, which has confirmed that there was a gas explosion at the site. That part is not used for worldwide pipelines, a spokesman said.
"But if supply does not resume soon and the cold weather continues, prices will remain strong through the winter", Wood Mackenzie analyst Massimo Di-Odoardo said.
The gas hub has been shutdown while safety checks are carried out to bring the situation under control.
The export arm of Russian energy giant Gazprom said it was working to redirect gas flows to southern Europe and to avoid any interruptions in the supply.
The ministry stated there are "no problems with supply", and that consumers are unaffected due to sufficient gas reserves in storage facilities.