VIENNA Aug 2 Austria will feel a pinch but be
able to handle European sanctions against Russia over its role
in Ukraine's political crisis, Economy Minister Reinhold
Companies in the high-tech and agricultural sectors would
feel the impact the most, he told broadcaster ORF in an
interview aired on Saturday. "But overall I think we will cope
with the sanctions," he added.
Mitterlehner did not specify which companies might be hit by
the sanctions formally adopted by the European Union on
Thursday, which include export bans on advanced oilfield
Shares in Cat Oil AG, a Vienna-based oil and gas
field service contractor, fell on Friday after it said Russia
sanctions could slow its growth.
The Austrian steel group Voestalpine is in talks
to supply heavy steel plates for the second pipeline of
Gazprom's giant South Stream gas transit to Europe.
It was part of the OMK consortium that won work for the
first South Stream pipeline.
Mitterlehner also did not say whether limits on exports of
farm products were new or referred to bans from earlier this
year on certain dairy and meat products amid hygiene issues
cited by Russia.
He played down talk that the political crisis could boost
prices for Russian energy.
"I have seen the Russian statements but I expect that,
(because) we have long-term contracts, it will not be so easy to
raise prices," he said, stressing the mutual dependency of
Russia and Europe on reliable energy supplies.
"Secondly, a unilateral price increase will lead to and
accelerate thinking about alternatives to diversify, so I see
the threat of operating on the price side more as a verbal
threat than a realistic approach."
Russia accounts for 2.8 percent of overall Austrian exports,
he said. "This is important but doesn't mean the world."
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Tom Heneghan)