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Austria gas hub blast caused by filtration system flaw — gas official

December 14, 2017, 1:24 UTC+3 VIENNA

The hub’s emergency shutdown system worked properly and gas deliveries were halted in time, the official said

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VIENNA, December 14. /TASS/. A blast at the gas distribution hub near Austria’s Baumgarten an der March was caused by a flaw in the newly installed filtration system, a senior official at the hub’s operator, Gas Connect Austria, said on Wednesday.

"An examination revealed that a new separator filter was either the main cause or the starting point of the ignition," Gas Connect Austria Managing Director Stefan Wagenhofer said, adding that the company’s specialists identified a malfunction in this system as the most likely reason for the blast immediately after the accident on Tuesday morning.

"This separator filter had a cover, which broke and ricocheted on impact," he said. "This caused a spark, a gas leak and a fire."

At the same time, the hub’s emergency shutdown system worked properly and gas deliveries were halted in time, he added.

On Tuesday, an explosion rocked Austria’s OMV gas distribution hub near Baumgarten an der March because of a technical malfunction, which sparked a huge blaze and completely halted gas transit supplies over this pipeline. The damaged terminal distributes gas delivered from Russia and Norway to Germany, Italy, France, Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary. One-third of Russian gas exports to Europe run through the Baumgarten network.

Gas Connect Austria said on Wednesday that transit supplies to Europe had been fully restored.

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