Gas Connect Austria accelerates hydrogen infrastructure development

Two forward-looking PCI projects submitted to the European Commission

Vienna, April 19, 2023 - The development of the national and European hydrogen infrastructure plays a decisive role for the energy future and sustainable security of supply. As a transmission system operator, Gas Connect Austria has submitted two forward-looking projects, "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West" and "H2 Backbone Murfeld" to the European Commission in order to obtain PCI (Project of Common Interest) status for both. The planned hydrogen transport options would not only benefit the domestic economy and industrial clusters in Germany, but also the environment.

For the gradual economy decarbonisation, it is necessary to advance the hydrogen infrastructure development of Austria and Europe. The gaseous raw material makes it possible to supply numerous branches of industry with CO2-neutral energy. In addition, hydrogen is easy to transport and store and can also be produced in a climate-neutral way using certain processes. Gas Connect Austria has therefore set itself the goal of making the domestic pipeline system fit for the transport of hydrogen in order to ensure sustainable security of supply. For this purpose, the company has submitted two pioneering pipeline projects to the European Commission: the "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West" and the "H2 Backbone Murfeld". Both projects were submitted as "Projects of Common Interest" (PCI) and therefore meet key European criteria in terms of sustainability, market integration, competitive conditions and security of supply.

"H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West"

The project "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West" project aims at supplementing the West-Austria-Gasleitung (WAG) and the Penta-West pipeline (PW) with continuous parallel lines for the transport of hydrogen. The planned conversion and expansion of the infrastructure will create cross-border, bi-directional hydrogen transport opportunities between Slovakia and Austria and between Austria and Germany in the amount of 150 GWh/day. The pipeline project is also part of the Southern Hydrogen Corridor (SoutH2 Corridor), linking North Africa, Italy, Austria and Germany. This will allow low-cost green hydrogen produced in the South to be delivered to European demand centres. For more information, please visit the new project website:

„H2 Backbone Murfeld“

In the course of the "H2 Backbone Murfeld" project, the South-East Line (SOL) will be extended by a parallel line for pure hydrogen, creating cross-border and in both directions hydrogen transport possibilities between Slovenia and Austria of 33 GWh/day. Sources could be the LNG terminal in Krk (Croatia) but also North Africa via Italy. More information can be found on the new project website:

Supplying Austrian and European industry

The demand for hydrogen in the Austrian and European industry is increasing steadily. According to a survey by the Austrian Gas Grid Management, companies in Austria estimate that they will need 12 terawatt hours (TWh) of hydrogen by 2030 and 47 TWh by 2040.The "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West" and "H2 Backbone Murfeld" projects could make a significant contribution to meeting this growing demand in the future and driving forward the decarbonisation of the economy. In particular, industrial clusters in Austria, such as the Styrian industrial areas, the Vienna metropolitan area and the Linz metropolitan area, but also surrounding regions - such as the ChemDelta Bavaria and the H2 Cluster Ingolstadt in Bavaria, could benefit from the newly created hydrogen infrastructure.

Part of the REPowerEU initiative

Both projects are part of the Europe-wide REPowerEU initiative, which aims to enable hydrogen to be imported into Europe via three major corridors. The aim is to supply the European Union with large quantities of CO2-neutral hydrogen in the future. Accordingly, the projects will be realised in close coordination with other European initiatives to develop the hydrogen infrastructure, including the "H2EU+Store" project - which aims to ramp up the market for green hydrogen for Central Europe - and the "SoutH2Corridor", which provides hydrogen transports from North Africa via Italy. In this way, Gas Connect Austria's projects make a significantly contribution to achieving Austrian and European climate and hydrogen targets.