Environmental protection - Greenpeace accuses OMV of spying on climate protection activists

Vienna. The environmental protection organization Greenpeace has demonstrated several times against the activities of the state-owned OMV in recent years. There was a lot of fuss about New Zealand, for example. In November 2019, Greenpeace activists occupied a supply ship off the coast of New Zealand in protest against planned oil and gas wells by the company.

Now Greenpeace and Fridays For Future Austria are accusing the oil and gas company of having environmentalists systematically monitored by international espionage companies. Greenpeace is referring to a report in the magazine “Dossier” and also refers to internal OMV communication.

Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) also asked for clarification from OMV at the request of the environmentalists, writes "Dossier". Kogler's spokeswoman confirmed to the Austria Press Agency a corresponding letter to OMV boss Rainer Seele.

Greenpeace and Fridays before Future base their allegations of espionage against OMV on emails from OMV employees that they have brought into their possession and that bring OMV to the security companies Welund and Thompson + Clark (T + C). OMV spokesman Andreas Rinofner emphasized to “Dossier” and the APA that “all activities by companies that work for OMV are carried out in compliance with all applicable laws”. There is "no dubious assignment and there is also no espionage, but correct, legal orders that are processed in accordance with the law as well as our compliance guidelines and the Code of Conduct," said Rinofner to the Austria Press Agency.

Outrage at
SPÖ, Neos and Greens

OMV is 31,5 percent owned by the Republic of Austria, the state share is administered by Öbag, whose sole director is Thomas Schmid. "It cannot be that a group in which the Republic holds shares is monitoring and spying on civil society," emphasized SPÖ environmental spokeswoman Julia Herr in a broadcast. She demanded the disclosure of all contracts between OMV and investigative firms and announced a parliamentary question to the finance minister.

"OMV boss Rainer Seele must clear up the allegations in the room quickly and without gaps," demanded Lukas Hammer, climate protection spokesman for the Greens. "Is the oil lobby's fear of the urgently needed energy turnaround really so great that it would have to resort to such means?" Asks the state spokesman for the Greens in Upper Austria, Stefan Kaineder. Neos environment spokesman Michael Bernhard also announced a parliamentary question. “Finance Minister Blümel and his friend Schmid have a lot to explain to us. After all, Schmid is also on the OMV Supervisory Board, ”said Bernhard.(ed.)