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Loose Cap Caused Blast in Austria That Rattled Energy Market

  • Incident at Baumgarten gas hub on Dec. 12 sent prices surging
  • Key pipeline bringing Russian gas to Europe reopened that day
Updated on

The massive explosion that shut down natural gas flows for half a day in Austria this week was caused by a loose cap seal on a newly-installed filtering unit, according to investigations by the operator of the Baumgarten hub.

The cap was on an installation that removes solid or fluid parts from the gas stream. The incident triggered a chain of events that culminated in a blast that halted flows through the facility about 9 a.m. on Dec. 12, according to a statement from the pipeline’s owner, OMV AG’s Gas Connect Austria GmbH. Gazprom PJSC, the hub’s biggest user, suggested safety breaches were involved, a claim denied by Gas Connect.