We are taking the potential concerns of local authorities and residents extremely seriously, and would therefore like to provide you with information on the comprehensive safety measures in place at our pipelines and facilities.
All of our systems are protected using multiple safeguards, and natural gas remains an exceptionally safe energy form. Last December’s incident was the first serious accident in our gas infrastructure operations for 70 years.
Gas Connect Austria’s facilities comply fully with the provisions of the Austrian Natural Gas Act and the guidelines of the Austrian Association for the Gas and Water Industry (ÖVGW). Our plant and equipment is carefully inspected and serviced at regular intervals*. We have also implemented extensive, ongoing programmes aimed at achieving continuous improvements in personal and environmental safety. Our highly qualified specialists adhere to the latest safety standards, thanks to regular training courses. Our contractors are subject to the same stringent safety guidelines as we are, and we inspect their conformance to these guidelines regularly.
Prevention and cooperation are central to our day-to-day operations. Comprehensive emergency measures and emergency management plans have been drawn up for all of our pipeline systems. Drills for potential emergency situations take place regularly, including in collaboration with public authorities and the emergency services. Gas emergency plans – which are updated annually and are also available to government authorities and the emergency services – can be found at all facilities. This detailed preparation paid dividends during the Baumgarten accident: our crisis management systems worked very well.
The emergency services reacted with the utmost professionalism, arriving at the scene quickly. The cooperation between the works fire service and local volunteer fire services came in for special praise – no fire service can handle an operation of this kind on its own. In order to draw appropriate lessons from the events in Baumgarten, Gas Connect Austria held constructive discussions with the Lower Austrian Fire Service and the local chief fire officer.
It goes without saying that we will analyse our safety measures here and elsewhere, and implement any necessary improvements. We are convinced that if handled properly, natural gas is an extremely valuable energy source. And the safety of our employees and the people living close to our facilities will always be a priority for us.
*Gas Connect Austria is certified in accordance with the ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 14001 (environmental management) and OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety management) standards.