Oil and gas regulation in Austria: overview

A Q&A guide to oil and gas regulation in Austria.

The Q&A gives a high level overview of the domestic oil and gas sector, rights to oil and gas, health safety and the environment, sale and trade in oil and gas, tax and enforcement of regulation. It covers transfer of rights; transportation by pipeline; environmental impact assessments; decommissioning; waste regulations and proposals for reform.

To compare answers across multiple jurisdictions, visit the energy and natural resources Oil and gas regulation Country Q&A tool.

This Q&A is part of the global guide to energy and natural resources. For a full list of content visit www.practicallaw.com/energy-guide.

Thomas Starlinger and Verena Pell, Starlinger Mayer Attorneys-at-Law
Contents

Domestic sector

1. What is the role of the domestic oil sector in your jurisdiction?

Domestic production

Oil in Austria is produced and processed by two companies:

  • OMV Aktiengesellschaft (OMV AG).

  • Rohöl-Aufsuchungs Aktiengesellschaft (RAG).

The development areas in Lower Austrian are situated in the Vienna Basin (Wiener Becken) and the Upper Austrian areas, known as the "Molasse Zone" (Molassezone). Crude oil processed by OMV AG and RAG in the Vienna Basin is pumped to the OMV refinery in Schwechat, while crude oil processed by RAG in Upper Austria is transported to the refinery in Schwechat by railway tank wagons.

Oil imports/exports market

In 2014, the crude oil imports were 7.66 millions of tonnes (2 % less than in 2013). Crude oil imports are sourced from different regions in two main locations:

  • Kazakhstan.

  • Nigeria.

In addition to crude oil, 5.62 million tonnes of mineral oil products were imported in 2014, including:

  • 3.63 million tonnes of diesel fuel.

  • 0.75 million tonnes of petrol.

  • 0.59 million tonnes of extra light heating oil.

Compared to 2013, the total quantity of imported mineral oil products decreased by 0.21 million tonnes in 2014 (an decrease of 3.6%).

2.45 million tonnes of mineral oil products were exported in 2014 (a decrease of 0.8% compared to 2013). The primary exports were 0.85 million tonnes of diesel oil and 0.83 million tonnes of petrol.

Domestic market structure

OMV AG and RAG are the only two companies in the domestic oil extraction. The shares of OMV AG are owned by the Österreichische Industrieholding AG (ÖIAG), the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and quoted on the stock exchange. The shares of RAG are fully owned by EVN AG, Uniper, ESTAG and Salzburg AG. While OMG AG is the only crude-importing company, 66 companies (including OMV AG) and self-importers import mineral oil products. Mineral oil products are exported by OMV AG and around 20 other companies.

Government policy objectives

There are no specific government policy objectives regarding the exploration and processing of oil.

Current market trends

In 2010, the crude price of US$80 per barrel was given and considered moderate and relatively stable. In 2011, the oil price increased to over US$100 per barrel, where it remained until August 2014. As a result, the oil price was a supporting factor for the market diffusion of technologies for the use of renewable energies from 2011 until mid-2014.

However, in September 2014 the crude price decreased rapidly right before the beginning of the heating season and fell below the US$50 mark by the end of the year. This affected consumers in their investment decisions and even gave them an incentive to refuel their heating oil tanks. In 2015, the oil price decreased again by 20% compared to 2014, which was most significant drop since 2009.

In April 2016, an OPEC meeting took place in Doha, where different countries wanted to limit the production of oil on the production basis of January 2016, to counter the price erosion on the world market. As the different countries were not able to agree on countermeasures, another meeting in June 2016 will take place. The failure of this meeting led to a further decrease of oil prices.

 
2. What is the role of the natural gas sector in your jurisdiction?

Domestic production

In addition to hydropower, natural gas is the second important energy source in Austria.

Natural gas activities in Austria began in the 1930s. The first natural gas field was discovered in Zwerndorf (Lower Austria) in 1952. Natural gas deposits occur especially in the Vienna Basin and in the Alpine foothills.

Domestic production of natural gas is covered by:

  • OMV Exploration & Production GmbH.

  • Rohöl-Aufsuchungs AG (RAG).

In 2014, the production volume amounted to 1.252 billion cubic metres, whereby OMV produced 80.8% and RAG 19.2%.

In June 1968, the first long-term supply contract was concluded between OMV and Gazprom Export's predecessor to import Russian natural gas at the Slovakian/Austrian border.

In 1986, Austria Ferngas GmbH (a consortium of local gas distributing companies) and OMV concluded a supply contract with the Norwegian Troll gas field consortium.

Domestic production and imports ensured the development of a substantial domestic downstream market for natural gas covering sales to households, industry and gas fired power plants. Complying with statutory requirements [*Author, please cite the statutory requirement you are referring to? Directive 98/30/EC, Austrian Gas Act], the Austrian gas market was completely liberalised in October 2002.

Natural gas is stored in depleted gas fields. Storage facility operators in Austria are:

  • Eon Gas Storage GmbH.

  • OMV Gas Storage GmbH.

  • RAG Energy Storage GmbH.

  • Astora GmbH & Co KG.

  • GSA LLC.

All facilities are operated by either OMV or RAG under the Austrian Mineral Resources Act. The transmission and distribution system includes 40,000 km (except transit services). Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is not directly available in Austria.

Natural gas imports/exports

In 2011, the domestic production of natural gas amounted to 15% of the natural gas requirements. The majority of the remaining 85% were imported from the Russian Federation and Norway. The natural gas exports amounted to 3.73 billion cubic metres, while the net natural gas imports (imports minus exports) amounted to 6.1 billion cubic metres in 2013.

Until 2013, the regulatory authority distinguished between network access for the supply of Austrian end consumers and the network access for transit business. In 2007 transit business amounted to approximately 80% of the imported gas. With the introduction of the two contract model in January 2013, the different treatment between gas transit business and the supply of gas to end consumers ceased. This resulted in an increase in the liquidity at the virtual trading point (that is, the Central European Gas Hub AG (CEGH)). In 2014, gas consumption was reduced, the supply of end consumers amounted to 78.7 TWh. The reason for this decrease was a mild winter, the effects of energy efficiency measures and the reduced use of gas-fired power stations for electricity production.

Domestic market structure

Since gas market liberalisation in October 2002, Austrian consumers have been free to choose their suppliers independently from their local system operators. The suppliers are responsible for schedule management and can balance demand that diverges from their schedules by recourse to storage, other flexibility products available at the virtual trading point or balancing energy markets. The net energy price is negotiable, while the charges for transporting gas are regulated.

In November 2011, major changes to the Austrian Gas Act were enacted, implementing Directive 2009/72/EC on the common rules for the internal market in electricity (Electricity Markets Directive 2009) and introducing the legal basis for a new market model in Austria, effective as from 1 January 2013, replacing the division between transit and domestic supply within the respective control areas by integrated market areas.

There are three market areas for the transportation system in Austria, namely:

  • Market Area East.

  • Tyrol.

  • Vorarlberg.

The market areas of Tyrol and Vorarlberg are only connected to the German transportation system, having no connection within Austria, and do not include any domestic production or storage sites.

Within Market Area East, in addition to the domestic distribution system, major transit pipelines exist, connecting the import station Baumgarten at the Austrian-Slovakian border near Vienna with Italy (Trans-Austria Gasline (TAG)), Germany (West Austria Gasline (WAG)), Hungary (Hungary-Austria Gasline (HAG)) and Slovenia (Croatia) via the Trans Austria Gasline and the South East Gasline, which have the capacity to transport about 100 billion cubic metres a year of mainly Russian gas dedicated to other western European states.

There are two transmission system operators (TSOs) in Austria, namely Gas Connect Austria GmbH and Trans Austria Gasleitung GmbH, which have both been certified as an independent transmission system operator (ITO) in accordance with Directive 2009/74/EC.

Within the new entry/exit model, Market Area East forms a single entry/exit zone, and a virtual trading point (VTP) was established within this market area.

The VTP is the central hub for all gas flows in Market Area East. Settlement at the VTP is carried out by Central European Gas Hub GmbH (CEGH).

In 2013, the market model in the gas sector was adopted in compliance with the third Energy Package. The pre-existing division between transit and domestic transportation was abolished and an entry/exit system was implemented. The new market model led to a significant stimulation of competition in Austria. The market area manager is responsible for co-ordinating the smooth functioning of the transmission system, including the organisation of the online platform for capacity allocation. The distribution area manager (AGGM Austrian Gas Grid Management AG) administers capacity of the level one distribution pipelines and steers the gas flow for domestic consumption, giving instructions to the respective distribution system operators (DSOs). The balance group co-ordinator (AGCS Clearing and Settlement AG) provides a settlement of balancing energy for domestic consumption.

On the market for supply of end consumers the price differentiation due to alternative suppliers by the way of discount campaigns is maintained. However, the rate of discount campaigns has significantly increased. In 2013, 31,051 households changed their supplier. This amount to a rise of 47% compared with 2012.

At the beginning of the "gas year" 2012/2013, 91% of the capacity of the Austrian Gas storage facilities was used. This constitutes a considerable increase compared with 2011/2012.

The most important suppliers are EconGas and various former gas utilities, ESTAG, Salzburg AG, KELAG, as well as newcomers like Engie (former GdFSuez), Wingas, Montana and Goldgas.

E-Control, the Austrian energy regulator, is quite active in the fields of public information and consumer protection, as well as with respect to tariff regulation. As of 1 January 2013, the tariff setting at the transmission level was changed to comply with Article 13 Regulation (EC) 715/2009, changing from tariffs according to contract paths to an entry/exit model.

Regarding network access, capacity management and balancing detailed rules have been set by way of the Gas Market Model Ordinance 2012 (the GMMO-VO 2012).

Government policy objectives

Government policy is set by the Minister of Science, Research and Economy (Bündesministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft) (BMWFW), laws are passed by Parliament and E-Control is very active in pursuing the goals of the regulator and monitoring the gas market.

With regard to the Third Energy Package, which was enacted by the European Union in August 2009, the Austrian government successfully joined forces with seven other EU member states to propose a third option (ITO) with regard to the issue of effective unbundling of transmission system operators, protecting the economic interests of vertically integrated energy undertakings.

On 22 November 2011, the Austrian Gas Act 2011 came into force, implementing the Third Energy Package into Austrian gas law.

To reach the European energy and climate goals, Austria fixed within the framework of the Energy Strategy Austria a target for final energy consumption in 2020 which amounts to 1,100 petajoules (PJ). The Energy Strategy Austria which was presented to the public in March 2010 contains a comprehensive set of measures aiming to achieve this ambitious energy efficiency and saving target in all relevant sectors. For natural gas the target for 2020 is 191.2 PJ compared to 2005 where it amounted to 202.7 PJ.

Current market trends

In 2014, the gross domestic consumption of natural gas decreased by 8 % to 270 PJ compared to the previous year. Since 1990 gross domestic consumption has increased by 23% reaching its maximum of 344 PJ in 2010. Afterwards it dropped by 22% to the current level. The reason for this decrease of gas consumption is due to the significant declining use of natural gas for electricity generation. Again this is a result of the dropped electricity wholesale price. Furthermore, the warm winters in 2013 and 2014 even led to a declining of natural gas consumption of the combined heat and power units (CHP units) for district heating generation. Since 2012 the natural gas production in particular has decreased by 33% while the oil production stayed on a stable level. The domestic production between 2010 and 2014 declined by a total of 10 %.

 
3. Are domestic energy requirements met by oil and gas production?

Oil requirements

Domestic energy requirements are not met by oil production, only 7.2% came from the domestic production of crude oil in 2013. Crude oil is imported from, among others:

  • Kazakhstan,

  • Saudi Arabia.

  • The Russian Federation.

  • Algeria.

  • Azerbaijan.

  • Iraq.

  • Libya.

  • Nigeria.

Natural gas requirements

The domestic production of natural gas is not adequate to meet the demand of natural gas. The domestic production approximately covers 15% of the natural gas requirements, the remaining 85% are imported mainly from Russian and Norwegian sources.

 
4. Are there specific government policies to encourage the exploration and production of unconventional gas or oil?

There are no specific government policies to encourage the exploration and production of unconventional gas or oil.

 

Regulation

Regulatory bodies

5. Who regulates the extraction of oil and gas?

Oil

According to Section 170 of the Mineral Raw Materials Act (Mineralrohstoffgesetz) the Federal Minister of Science, Research and Economy as Mining Authority is the competent authority.

See box, The regulatory authorities.

Natural gas

The Federal Minister of Science, Research and Economy is also the competent authority for the extraction of gas.

See box, The regulatory authorities.

 

The regulatory regime

6. What is the regulatory regime for onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration and production?

The exploration and production of oil and gas is laid down in the Mineral Raw Materials Act (Mineralrohstoffgesetz).

The Mineral Raw Materials Act lays down provisions on the prospecting and mining of all mineral raw materials and contains detailed regulations concerning, among others:

  • Mining licences.

  • Operating plans.

  • Mining installations.

  • Supervision.

It also governs the exploration and investigation of geological structures to be used for storing liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons (petroleum and natural gas). It also regulates the technological aspects of the use of geothermal energy involving shafts, tunnels or boreholes of a depth in excess of 300 metres. Further provisions deal with the introduction of materials into subterranean cavities and their storage in such cavities and the utilisation of mining structure of closed pits.

 

Rights to oil and gas

Ownership

7. How are rights to oil and gas held?

Hydrocarbons (crude oil and natural gas underground) belong to the state-owned mineral raw materials according to (section 4, Mineral Raw Materials Act). According to Section 68 of the Mineral Raw Materials Act the Federal Government is entitled to prospect state-owned mineral raw materials and to prospect and explore hydrocarbon-bearing geological structures. Further the Federal Government is entitled to produce oil and gas and to store it. The Federal Government can concede these rights to others for an appropriate fee under section 69 of the Mineral Raw Materials Act by civil law contracts.

 

Nature of oil and gas rights

8. What are the key features of the leases, licences or concessions which are issued under the regulatory regime?

Lease/licence/concession term

According to the Mineral Raw Materials Act oil and gas belongs to the "federally owned" mineral raw materials, meaning that the Federal government has an ownership under civil law. The Federal government has the mining permit by law, which can be contractually transferred against reasonable compensation. The contract with the Federal government forms the basis for other required official permits. Exploration and mining activities require officially approved work programmes and operational plans (exploration and final operational plans). If plants are used, a permission for the mining installation is required if the nature of the installation corresponds to a mining installation. If the nature of the mining installation is seen as an industrial plant under the Industrial Code, an operating licence under this code is required.

The construction and operation of storage facilities require permits under the Mineral Raw Materials Act.

In addition, other permits under different administrative laws, such as the Water Rights Act, the Environmental Protection Act of the provinces and the Environmental Assessment Act, may be necessary for mining installations.

Fees

During the period of granting the right to exploration, the right holder must pay an area fee (Flächenzins). He is furthermore obligated to pay a field fee (Feldzins) for the rights to extract in a defined production field, a royalty (Förderzins) for the right to acquire and a storage fee for the right to store crude oil and natural gas. The amount of the area, field and storage fees are subject to the civil law contract between the right holder and the Federal State as well as in accordance with the Mineral Raw Materials Act. The royalty is calculated according to the Mineral Raw Materials Act only.

Liability

Companies that hold a mining permit are liable irrespective of fault for mining damage. The Mineral Raw Mining damage is defined as the impairment of an object, of health or life by activities under the Mineral Raw Materials Act. This absolute liability does not cover personal injury of employees and damage to lands that may arise from activities under the Mineral Raw Materials Act or according the civil-law agreement on this activities and damage to certain installations.

 
9. How are such leases, licences or concessions awarded?

Lease and licences are awarded by civil law contract with the Federal State in accordance with the Mineral Raw Materials Act.

 

Transfer of rights

10. How are oil and gas rights transferred?

Transfer of rights

Oil and gas rights are transferred by civil law contract between the right holder and the acquirer. Generally, transfers must be notified to the authority.

Restrictions on transfer

The transfer of the rights under the civil law contract with the federal state are subject to the prior approval of the federal state.

 

Tax

11. What payments are payable by oil and gas interest holders to the government?

The fees regulated in the civil law contract can only be changed by mutual agreement (see Question 8, Fees). The royalty is subject to change by way of an ordinance of the government.

 
12. Does the government derive any other economic benefits from oil and gas exploration and production?

In addition, the value added tax and income tax apply.

 
13. What taxes and duties apply on import and export of oil and gas?

A tax applies to mineral oil under the Austrian Mineral Oil Tax Act 1955 (Mineralölsteuergesetz). Mineral oil, which is produced in Austria or imported from another EU member state or third state to Austria as well as fuel and heating fuel used in Austria are subject to the mineral oil tax. The Austrian Mineral Oil Tax Act does not provide own tax rates for all goods subject to the mineral oil tax, but only for those mineral oils ordinarily used as fuels or for burning. All other mineral oils are subject to the same tax rate as mineral oils to which they are similar in nature and purpose. In most cases the tax rates relate to 1000 litres of the corresponding good. Details of the tax rates can be found in section 3 of the Austrian Mineral Oil Tax Act.

 

Transportation by pipeline

14. What regulatory requirements apply to the construction and operation of oil and gas pipelines?

The construction and operating of oil and gas pipelines that are deemed to be part of a mining installation are subject to a permit under the Mineral Raw Material Act. In addition, other permits in particular under the Water Act, Environmental Impact Assessment Act, nature protection laws of the provinces, forestry law or building regulations of the federal provinces may be required.

Property rights are subject to civil law agreements with the respective land owner; expropriation rights are included in the respective governing laws.

Oil pipelines

The construction and operating start of other oil pipelines require a permit of the provincial governor under the Pipeline Act.

Imported oil is transferred via the Transalpine Oil Pipeline (TAL) and the Adria-Wien-Pipeline (AWP) branching of TAL in Carinthia (Kärnten) to Schwechat refinery for further processing. The throughput of the TAL in 2014 was 41.2 million tonnes, of which 39% went to the Bavarian refineries Ingolstadt, Vohburg, Neustadt and Burghausen, 33% to the refineries in Karlsruhe as well as 19% to the AWP for transmission to the refinery in Schwechat. Nine% were pumped to the Mid-European Crude Oil Pipeline (MERO) for transmission to Czech refineries.

Austria's whole crude oil import is made via the TAL-AWP-Pipeline system. Crude is oil is carried per ship to Triest harbour (Italy), is stored there and then pumped to Austria via the TAL. Via the AWP the crude oil intended for Austria is transferred to the refinery in Schwechat via Carinthia, Styria, Burgenland and Lower Austria.

Pipeline access and rates are subject to negotiations.

Gas pipelines

Transit pipelines and storage facilities are only established within Market Area East. Within the market areas of Tyrol and Vorarlberg, only distribution pipeline systems exist.

In Market Area East, Gas Connect Austria GmbH and Trans Austria Gasleitung GmbH are the owners and operators of the transmission lines used mainly for the transit of natural gas to other European states.

Both Gas Connect Austria GmbH and Trans Austria Gasleitung GmbH have been certified as ITOs.

For the construction and operation of natural gas transportation pipelines, permits primarily in accordance with the Natural Gas Act are required.

Network Access is subject to regulation. Tariffs are set by the regulatory authority.

 
15. Is there a system of third party access to pipelines and other infrastructure?

There is no system for third party access (TPA) to oil pipelines. There is a system of TPA to the natural gas network and to gas storage (see Question 2, Domestic market structure).

 

Health, safety and the environment

Health and safety

16. What is the health and safety regime for oil and gas exploration and extraction, and transportation by pipeline?

The Austrian Labour Inspection (Arbeitsinspektion) checks the compliance of the worker protection provisions at domestic companies and construction sites. It is party in approval procedure of, for example, production plants and therefore responsible for safety and health protection at work. The Labour Inspection is a part of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (BMASK).

 

Environmental impact assessments (EIAs)

17. Is an EIA required before extracting or processing onshore or offshore oil and gas?

Annex 1 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act contains a list of the different type of projects for which an environmental impact assessment is mandatory. Projects regarding the construction, extracting or processing onshore oil and gas are mentioned in Annex 1 and therefore require an environmental impact assessment.

 
18. What are the different stages of the EIA?

In a first step, the applicant must file an application to the Provincial Government. Along with the application, the applicant must file an environmental impact statement, which must contain a description of the project, an examination of possible alternatives, impact of the project on the environment and measures intended to prevent or reduce such impact.

The assessment of the probable environmental impact is carried out by independent experts appointed by the competent authority. Public participation takes place in several steps:

  • The right to voice opinion on the application and the environmental impact statement.

  • The right to review the expert report.

  • The right to voice opinion at a possible public deliberation.

  • The parties' right to participate in the oral hearing.

The status of party is granted to neighbours, environmental ombudsmen, local municipalities, affected immediately bordering neighbouring municipalities, the water management planning body, citizens' initiatives with a certain size of citizens eligible to vote and recognised environmental organisations. Parties have the right to file an appeal to the Austrian Administrative High Court.

The notification of the authority must be left open for public inspection. Once the project is completed, the authority conducts an acceptance test. Three to five years after completion of the project a post-control has to take place.

The competent Federal Administrative Court, with independent judges which make decisions in a panel, acts as instance of appeal.

The average duration of proceedings from the application until authorisation is 17.7 months (of course it depends on the size of the project).

 

Environmental permits

19. Is there a permit regime for environmental damage or emissions produced during the extraction or processing of oil and gas?

The person holding a mining permit for oil and gas must notify an intended extraction to the authority. The notification must be accompanied by a mining management plan according to the Mineral Raw Materials Act. This management plan in particular must include details of expected emissions through the extraction and how these emissions may be reduced.

 

Environmental concerns

20. Are there any specific government policies and/or incentives aimed at meeting the environmental concerns associated with the exploration and production of oil and gas?

There are no specific government policies and/or incentives aimed at meeting the environmental concerns associated with the exploration and production of oil and gas.

 

Waste

21. What are the regulations on the disposal of waste products resulting from oil or gas extraction or processing?

The disposal of waste products resulting from oil or gas is regulated in the Waste Management Act 2002 (Abfallwirtschaftsgesetz). The Waste Management Act is based on the principles of precaution and sustainability and is geared towards several objectives, for instance the protection of humans, animals and plants as well as their basis of existence and natural environment. Furthermore, the Waste Management Act regulates the minimisation of air pollution and gasses relevant to climate change, the conservation of resources (raw materials like oil and gas) and the deposition of waste from waste. Parties subject to the Waste Management Act are waste holders, waste producers, waste collectors and waste processors. The Act contains provisions on waste prevention and recovery, the general duties of the waste holders, the waste collectors and processors, the collection and recovery system, treatment facilities, transboundary shipment as well as treatment contracts and verification.

For further information on liability under the Mineral Resources Act, see Question 8.

 

Flares and vents

22. Are flare and vent regulations in place?

There are provisions about flaring in a regulation concerning drilling boreholes (Bohrlochbergbau-Verordnung) [*Author, please give an example of the provisions concerning flaring*].

 

Decommissioning

23. What are the decommissioning obligations and liabilities that arise?

The person holding a mining permit must issue a closure plan when terminating the extraction or operation of a plant. The plan must include details about the technical execution of the closure and safety activities as well as documents about the protection of the area regarding the interest of the safety of persons and goods and about the provisions of re-using the area. The closure plan is subject to approval by the authority regarding required works and intended measures. Furthermore, the authority must be notified in the case of liquidation of the plant. For further information concerning liabilities, see Question 8.

 

Sale and trade

24. How is trade in oil and gas usually completed?

Physical and financial trades of natural gas and oil are typically concluded as over-the-counter contracts. For natural gas a stock exchange is established by Central European Gas Hub AG.

In gas the virtual trading point within the Market Area East is used as delivery point for all trades.

 
25. Are oil and gas prices regulated?

Oil and gas prices are not regulated in Austria.

 

Enforcement of regulation

26. What are the regulator's enforcement powers?

Orders

The basis for enforcement powers of the E-Control regarding wholesale trading of natural gas is rooted in the EU Regulation (EU) 1227/2011 on wholesale energy market integrity and transparency (REMIT). According to the regulation, the national regulatory authorities of the EU member states (NRAs) must ensure that the market abuse prohibitions and the transparency obligation of the regulation are applied. REMIT requires member states to ensure that, at least as of 29 June 2013, their NRAs have the necessary investigatory and enforcement powers. The Agency for the Co-operation of Energy Regulators (ACER), established in 2010 in accordance with Third Energy Package, complements and co-ordinates the work of national regulatory authorities, participates in the creation of European network rules, takes binding individual decisions, gives advice on energy related issues to European institutions and monitors developments in the European energy market on framework of REMIT.

Fines and penalties

As regards the enforcement of the adherence to REMIT, section 99 of the Austrian Electricity Act and section 159 of the Austrian Gas Act provide for administrative penalties in cases of non-compliance.

Other

There are also other administrative penalty provisions in place under the applicable laws such as the:

  • Mineral Raw Material Act.

  • Electricity Act.

  • Gas Act.

 
27. Is there a right of appeal against the regulator's decisions?

The complaint against a ruling of E-Control can be lodged with the federal administration court within four weeks.

 

Reform

28. Are there plans for changes to the legal and regulatory framework?

There are currently no plans for changes to the legal and regulatory framework.

 

The regulatory authority

Energie-Control Austria

Address. Rudolfsplatz 13a
1010
Vienna
T +43 1 24724-0
F +43 1 24724-900
E office@e-control.at
W www.e-control.at

Main responsibilities. Regulation of the electricity and gas markets; supervision and control of the network operators.

Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy

Address. Stubenring 1
1010
Vienna
T +43 (0)1 71100-0
W www.en.bmwfw.gv.at

Main responsibilities. Administration of the rights of the Austrian federal state to hydrocarbons; mining authority; supervision of the regulatory authority for electricity and gas



Online resources

W www.e-control.at

Description. This website is maintained by the regulatory authority for electricity and gas and contains up to date information on electricity and gas regulations as well as the relevant laws in German and unofficial English translations of the most important laws and regulations.

W www.en.bmwfw.gv.at

Description. This website contains up to date information on mining, including oil and gas exploration and production as well as applicable laws and regulations in German.



Contributor profiles

Thomas Starlinger, Partner

Starlinger Mayer Rechtsanwälte GmbH

T +43 1 383 60
F +43 1 383 60 60
E t.starlinger@starlinger-mayer.at
W www.starlinger-mayer.at

Professional qualifications. Austria

Areas of practice. Energy; mining; litigation.

Recent transactions

  • Representing in Arbitration a client on issues regarding a long term gas storage contract.
  • Advising in arbitration a client on validity of a long term gas transportation contract.
  • Advising in arbitration a client on the validity of a long term gas purchase contract.
  • Advising a network operator on compliance with unbundling requirements.
  • Advising a client on issues regarding tariff methodology.

Languages. German, English

Professional associations/memberships. Austrian Bar Association; International Bar Association.

Publications

  • Getting the Deal Through - Environment and Climate Regulation 2016 – Österreich.
  • Thomas Starlinger, Verena Pell; Herausgeber: Carlos de Miguel Perales and Per Hemmer, Uría Menéndez and Bech-Bruun; Law Business Research Ltd., London 2015.
  • Capacity Mechanisms in the EU Energy Market - Law, Policy and Economics – Austria, Thomas Starlinger und Harald Kröpfl; Herausgeber: Leigh Hancher, Adrien de Hauteclocque and Malgorzata Sadowska; Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • The 2014 Austrian Energy Efficiency Act: New Challenges for Energy Suppliers in Austria.
  • Thomas Starlinger, CEE Legal Matters 2015, 73. Online verfügbar unter www.ceelegalmatters.com.
  • Getting the Deal Through - Gas Regulation 2015 - Österreich
  • Thomas Starlinger und Peter Polak; Herausgeber: David Tennant, Torquil Law; Law Business Research Ltd., London 2015.

Verena Pell, Associate

Starlinger Mayer Rechtsanwälte GmbH

T +43 1 383 60
F +43 1 383 60 60
E v.pell@starlinger-mayer.at
W www.starlinger-mayer.at

Professional qualifications. Austria

Areas of practice. Energy; litigation.

Languages. German, English

Publications

  • Getting the Deal Through - Environment and Climate Regulation 2016 – Österreich.
  • Thomas Starlinger, Verena Pell; Herausgeber: Carlos de Miguel Perales and Per Hemmer, Uría Menéndez and Bech-Bruun; Law Business Research Ltd., London 2015.

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