On 17 February 2023, Germany and Austria signed a bilateral agreement on joint responsibility for the use and filling of the Haidach and 7Fields gas reservoirs, and also on the transportation of the stored gas in the event of a shortage of gas. Austria’s Climate Action Minister Leonore Gewessler and Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economic Affairs and Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck signed the agreement between the two respective ministries in Schönbrunn Palace. The agreement will enter into force 30 days after it was signed.

The signing of the agreement builds on a declaration of intent signed in July 2022 and serves to implement requirements under EU law. The two reservoirs have already been used by both Austrian and German gas companies in the past.

The main points of the agreement:

  • Overall responsibility for meeting the filling targets for the two reservoirs, which are located in Austria but have so far been predominantly connected to the German grid, is shared by Austria and Germany.
  • Gas transit via Germany to Tyrol and Vorarlberg will be maintained even in the event of a gas shortage situation. Austrian companies which have stored gas in Haidach or 7Fields can therefore also transport this gas to Vorarlberg and Tyrol via Germany in the event of an emergency as long as there are no technical reasons preventing the transit.
  • Austria and Germany also give a mutual assurance that access to the volumes of gas stored in Haidach and 7Fields which have been stored in order to maintain energy security will also be available when energy is steered or in the event of a gas shortage situation.

Leonore Gewessler, Austrian Climate Action Minister:

“The agreement with Germany is an additional safety net for Austria’s stable gas supply and particularly for Vorarlberg and Tyrol. Our gas reserve stored there provides a security buffer for a crisis. Today’s agreement now sets out our common understanding of gas transits between Germany and Austria and the shared responsibility for filling the Haidach and 7Fields reservoirs. We are mutually dependent on each other for our gas supply. Austria has no coastline – and is therefore always dependent on other countries transiting gas to Austria. At the same time, we have something to contribute. Our country hosts large reservoirs which are also important for our neighbours in the event of a crisis. Showing solidarity and standing together is the best answer to Putin’s attempts to blackmail us.”

Robert Habeck, German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action:

“Solidarity and European cooperation are crucial in the event of a shortage of gas. In 2021, Germany and Austria were two of the first countries to conclude a solidarity agreement to ensure a secure supply of gas in a gas shortage situation. The new agreement on the Haidach and 7Fields gas reservoirs marks a further joint step forward in the close and trusting cooperation between Austria and Germany in the field of energy security and supply. It makes a further important contribution towards the supply of gas for the southern German region and Austria, and towards European energy cooperation. We are pleased to be able to implement this milestone in our joint declaration of July 2022 today.”