VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria has made progress in weaning itself off Russian naturaland boosting gas storage, the government said on Monday.
"We have now already stored more than 50 terawatt hours out of the 76 terawatt hours needed," Chancellor Karl Nehammer said after a crisis summit on energy supply.
"This is a clear success, especially when you consider that in March we began at over 15 terawatt hours of gas stored". Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler said dependence on Russian gas had fallen to less than 50% from up to 80% previously, which had made Austria one of the countries in Europe most exposed to Russian gas flows.
Around 55% of the country's annual consumptionwas now in storage, the minister said, adding the goal of hitting 80% by the start of the heating season was within reach.
"Since 6.00 a.m. today, gas is also being stored in the Haidach storage facility," Gewessler added.
The government had allowed other companies to use the storage capacity at Haidach that went unused by Russian companyGazprom.
(Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, writing by Michael Shields; editing by Grant McCool)