Crude oil

Frame of a rusty derrick (bottom view)
Photo: M. Pupp

Just like natural gas, crude oil is a federally owned mineral resource and is therefore the property of the Republic of Austria. At present, Austria is able to cover about 7 % of the national demand for oil from domestic production.

In 2019 626,877 tonnes of oil were extracted in Austria. Austria’s most significant oil reserves are located in the area of the Nordalpines Alpenvorland in Upper and Lower Austria and in the Vienna Basin.

The history of Austrian oil production begins on 21 August 1934. On this day the shaft sinking for the first commercially successful oil well started in Austria (in Egbell, now Hungary).

In the 1930ies Erdölproduktionsgesellschaft m.b.H. (EPG) and Rohölgewinnungs AG (RAG) were established and took over the industrial extraction of the “black gold” in Austria. During World War II production was mainly carried out by German companies. At the end of the war, in 1945, Austria was the third-most important oil-producing country of Europe after the Soviet Union and Romania. The Vienna Basin became part of the Soviet occupation zone then and was administered by the Russians until Austria’s independence. In Matzen, located in the Vienna Basin, the largest Central European oil field was discovered in 1949. In 1956, Österreichische Mineralölverwaltung Aktiengesellschaft (OMV Aktiengesellschaft) was established.

Oil serves above all as an energy carrier and as a basic substance for the production of fuels, plastics, medical products and many more.

The current production data for Austria and the world can be found in the Austrian Montan-Handbuch and in the international statistics on raw materials, WORLD MINING DATA.