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Sustainability report 21|22

About RAG Austria AG

We’re making security of supply happen. Our storage facilities are the key to the energy future.

Company profile

Headquartered in Vienna, RAG Austria AG is the country’s largest energy storage company, and one of Europe’s leading storage facility operators. The company also develops innovative energy technologies related to green gas and hydrogen that partner renewables.

RAG’s primary focus is on the responsible storage, conversion and needs-based conditioning of energy in gaseous forms. This enables RAG to play a vital role in attaining Europe’s climate goals and ensuring sustainable material and energy supplies in Austria. The company is committed to providing its customers with reliable, environmentally friendly and affordable energy and gas storage services over the long term.

RAG’s innovation capabilities have enabled it to become a sustainable technology leader in the European energy storage and supply sector. With storage capacity of around 6.3 billion cubic metres of natural gas, the company operates about 6 % of total EU capacity. A large part of RAG’s underground gas reservoirs have already been converted into storage facilities, which can rapidly discharge stored energy in large quantities on demand. In this way, RAG is delivering on its vision of ‘sustainable energy mining‘ and decisively reinforcing security of supply in Austria and Central Europe. In future, sustainable, high-volume storage facilities will also increasingly be used for the seasonal storage of green gas and hydrogen, which can then be processed and made available whenever it is needed.

RAG has developed and now operates a total of eleven pore storage facilities in Salzburg and Upper Austria. They include the Puchkirchen/Haag, Haidach, Haidach 5 and Aigelsbrunn facilities, the 7Fields interconnected network, as well as the hydrogen storage facilities in Pilsbach and Rubensdorf. Besides providing storage capacity for gaseous energy forms, the company aims to ensure the efficient utilisation of reservoirs. Our customers own the gas stored at our facilities, and they take decisions regarding sources of supply as well as energy use and application. Storage levels are updated and published daily by the storage marketing companies through the AGSI+ transparency platform (agsi.gie.eu).

More Details: Our Storage Facilities

The company is working hard to develop innovative, groundbreaking energy technologies related to green gas and hydrogen that partner renewables – ranging from power-to-gas technology to methane electrolysis – and is also looking at uses for conventional natural gas. RAG is regarded as a pioneer in hydrogen production and storage thanks to its involvement in several research and demonstration projects, such as the water electrolysis plant in Pilsbach, Upper Austria, which has been in operation since 2015.

In terms of transport and mobility, the company uses and markets gas as a fuel (in the form of CNG and LNG). In the future, it will also be possible to use green or synthetic gas produced from renewables for transportation purposes, in addition to conventional natural gas – this is important because gas-fired power generation, one of the most common uses of these gases, is not the most efficient application. LNG technology, which has now reached the volume production stage, is a lower-emission alternative to diesel engines, especially in heavy goods vehicles. RAG’s current research and development activities are opening up new horizons in this regard. 

Around 240,000 tonnes of crude oil are stored at RAG’s Krift tank farm (in Kremsmünster, Upper Austria), which has eco-friendly connections to the pipeline and rail transportation networks. The tanks are used to store oil produced by RAG subsidiary RAG Exploration und Production GmbH, and also to offer capacity to customers in its role as an approved stockholder, which in turn ensures compliance with the legal requirement for the short-term and long-term storage of minimum reserves (compulsory emergency reserves). This enhances security of supply in Austria by creating buffer stocks to safeguard supplies in an emergency. 

Thanks to its decades of experience and valuable subsurface engineering expertise, RAG can support the implementation of geothermal projects as required. RAG subsidiary Silenos Energy successfully commissioned a geothermal plant with a water-cooling system for the first time in Garching an der Alz in Germany.

With operations in Upper Austria and Salzburg, RAG Exploration & Production GmbH specialises in the efficient, environmentally friendly production of mineral oil and natural gas – both of these valuable raw materials are used for high-quality processing in Austrian industry – and plays its part in reducing dependence on imports. Approximately 8 % of the natural gas required in Austria comes from domestic ground, of which RAG in turn produced an amount of approximately 78.5 million cubic meters of natural gas (from primary production) in 2022. With about 50,300 tons of crude oil, RAG was able to provide the raw material for high-quality further processing in domestic industry with about 12 % of Austria‘s domestic production.

Shareholder structure and legal form

Partners / shareholdings

The Haidach natural gas storage facility was planned and constructed by RAG under its concession and project management. Since then, the company has been comprehensive technical storage operator. Due to legal changes in Germany, the share of Gazprom export of around 56 % of the Haidach storage facility was transferred to the German SEFE Group (Securing Energy for Europe). The capacities of the Haidach storage are marketed by astora and, since August 2022 by RAG Energy Storage.

7Fields was also planned and built by RAG under its concession and project management. Since then, RAG has been comprehensive technical storage operator. The German Uniper Energy Storage holds a share of 50 % of 7Fields. Uniper and RAG Energy Storage market the capacity of the interconnected storage network 7Fields.

Gas import routes to Central Europe

Imports of gaseous energy forms in Europe have been in a state of flux since the start of the war in Ukraine. European energy importers and governments have been taking steps to safeguard energy supplies by diversifying their imports. In the short term, neither increasing local production nor securing alternative supplies through new import routes are feasible options. LNG imports have increased over the past year. Europe’s main sources of imports are Russia, Norway, Algeria, Qatar, the USA, Nigeria, Libya and Trinidad and Tobago.

Source: Bruegel.org | www.bruegel.org/dataset/european-natural-gas-imports
Figure 1: EU27 Natural Gas Imports (by source)

Future hydrogen import routes – Hydrogen Backbone

At present, more and more governments and businesses are taking strategic action aimed at increasing imports of hydrogen. A zero-carbon energy source, hydrogen will play a key part in achieving the essential reduction in CO2 emissions. The picture on the right shows the various potential routes for hydrogen imports to Central Europe. 

Corridor A: North Africa and Southern Europe
Corridor B: Southwestern Europe and North Africa
Corridor C: North Sea
Corridor D: Nordic and Baltic regions
Corridor E: Eastern and Southeastern Europe

Source: Hydrogen Backbone (www.ehb.eu)