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Italy plans state of emergency after Austrian gas explosion chokes supply

  • Authorities report an explosion at a natural gas facility near Austria's border with Slovakia has left one person dead
  • Several more are injured but the fire has now been contained
  • Italian minister says his country will declare a state of emergency due to lack of gas supply
Austria's main gas pipeline hub at Baumgarten, Eastern Vienna, where an explosion rocked the site on Tuesday 12 December.
Getty Images | TOMAS HULIK | AFP
Austria's main gas pipeline hub at Baumgarten, Eastern Vienna, where an explosion rocked the site on Tuesday 12 December.

An explosion at Austria's main gas hub Tuesday has left one person dead and several injured, according to a report.

Gas Connect Austria, which operates the Baumgarten site on the Austrian border with Slovakia, said that the cause of the blast was not yet known.

According to Reuters, deliveries to Italy might be most affected. Shortly after the news, Italy's wholesale gas price rose 87 percent to 44.50 euros per megawatt hour.

Italian industry minister Carlo Calenda warned of a "serious" energy supply problem and said the country would need to declare a state of emergency.

However SNAM, an Italian natural gas infrastructure company, said supplies to the country were currently guaranteed by storage levels and Russian gas imports could resume as early as today.

Following the blast, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) is reporting one person dead and 18 injured. The APA also said the plant was now shut down and the fire contained.

On Twitter, Austrian police reported that the explosion's origin was "technical". The force later added that the fire was under control and that emergency services were tending to the injured.

Russia's Gazprom, which feeds gas to the hub for delivery around Europe, said it had been forced to reroute supplies to customers.

British gas prices also affected by a U.K. pipeline outage, lifted to their highest level since 2013.