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Gazprom completes first leg of Austrian gas storage with partners

Gazprom said Thursday it had completed the construction of the first section of the Haidach underground gas storage facility in Salzburg, Austria, with Austria's RAG and Russian-German joint venture WINGAS.

The companies plan to launch the construction of the second section on late 2008 and to finish it in April 2011. Haidach will be the largest underground gas storage in Austria and the second-largest in Central Europe. The three companies will invest some €260 million ($349.3 million) in the project, which will have capacity of up to 2.4 billion cubic meters of gas. The volume accounts for 25% of Austria's annual gas consumption. Gazpromexport, RAG and WINGAS signed a protocol of intent to build and operate the Haidach gas field as an underground gas storage facility in October 2003. The construction was launched in January 2005. RAG discovered Haidach in 1997, and since 1998 some 2.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas have been supplied to the Austrian market from the deposit. (