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UK gas prices for January soared by as much as a fifth on Tuesday after an explosion at Austria’s main import hub added to fears of tightening supplies, with the shutdown of the key North Sea Forties Pipeline System already crimping output.

Same-day gas prices in the UK rose even more, surging 40 per cent to 95 pence per therm, the highest since 2013.

The explosion east of Vienna has injured several people according to news wire and local media reports. Local police said a “technical cause” was behind the blast, and said an inquiry was under way.

The Baumgarten facility, which is Austria’s largest import terminal for natural gas, was reported to have experienced an explosion and fire around 7:45am London time.

Agence France Presse reported there has been at least one fatality. Reuters quoted a police spokesman saying there were expected to be several injured.

A spokesperson for oil and gas company OMV, which holds a stake in the company that operates the Baumgarten site, was not immediately available for comment.

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