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Sustainability report 21|22

Safe facilities and work processes

Security of supply is our mission, and we are fully committed to achieving it.

2021 | 2022

  • Focus on integrity management at facilities
  • Measures to protect critical infrastructure

2023 | 2024

  • Improvements in operational resilience at our facilities (operational redundancy, business continuity management, restart plans)
  • Implementation of measures resulting from 2022 Netz- und Informations­systemsicherheitsgesetz (Network and Information Systems Security Act) audit
  • Reduction in number and volume of substance leaks through enhancement of integrity management

Security of supply

Security of supply is the core issue for the energy sector, and of vital importance to society and the economy. We work responsibly to ensure uninterrupted, affordable and secure supplies of gas for power and heat generation, and for use in industry and transportation. It is our task to provide storage capacity on fair market terms, so that energy suppliers in Central Europe can provide their customers with dependable supplies. Refilling the storage facilities is the responsibility of the suppliers we work with; it is our responsibility to ensure that the storage and other technical facilities offer high availability, and to minimise risks in the operation of these facilities.

Current and future challenges

Reliable and flexible supplies of large volumes of energy sources for Austria and Central Europe are essential to maintain stability and safeguard the region’s position as a business location. Market distortions in the wake of war in Ukraine have shown the negative impact that dependence on individual exporting countries can have. The resulting necessary diversification of import flows has brought new challenges for RAG with regard to gas quality, which we have so far successfully overcome with the help of our experts.

Alongside storage of conventional natural gas, use of RAG’s facilities to store green gas is set to grow. The necessary reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and the transformation of energy systems will only be possible if electricity generated by wind and solar power installations can be stored. For this reason, RAG started work years ago to ready its storage facilities for use with alternative gaseous energy forms, such as hydrogen, in order to support security of supply. Alongside increased production of biogas and synthetic gas, hydrogen will be an important pillar in tomorrow’s energy supplies.

What we do to ensure security of supply

  • Integrity management (facility status monitoring, damage analysis) 
  • Assessment of IT systems according to criticality and installation of required redundancy
  • Business continuity management (BCM): formulation of the business continuity strategy, measures to improve resilience and possible recovery options following critical incidents

Responsible persons at RAG

  • Facility manager (facility availability, electricity supply)
  • Integrity manager (facility status and damage analysis reporting)
  • IT Department (redundant IT systems and networks)
  • Internal Audit & Strategic Security Management Department (BCM, IT risk analysis)

Diversifying our own energy supplies is another important step in protecting ourselves against potential energy blackouts. Development and expansion of photovoltaic (PV) installations at our sites, and the black start capability of key facilities both play an important role in ensuring secure gas supplies. 

In fulfilling our role to ensure security of supply, we also use electric compressors, which may be more environmentally friendly but are not secure against blackouts. Gas compressors are therefore required in at least some of the necessary areas of application, which in future will ideally run on green gas, hydrogen or climate neutral energy.

Guaranteeing availability

RAG Energy Storage concludes contracts on gas storage availability individually with each customer. To guarantee this availability, our facilities are carefully planned and operated. Regular maintenance and inspections are carried out in line with the applicable regulatory requirements, and often go beyond them. Facilities are continually updated to reflect the state of the art. Our target is availability of 99.5 %, excluding planned maintenance. Gas storage availability as measured by customers exceeded this target in 2021 (99.97 %) and 2022 (99.98 %).