Switzerland will begin releasing oil reserves today as part of its plan to release a total of 245,000 cubic meters
Switzerland will begin releasing oil reserves today as part of its plan to release a total of 245,000 cubic meters by September.
The decision came after a prolonged drought led to record-low water levels on the Rhine River, reducing loading quantities for oil-carrying ships and causing supply constraints. In the Upper Rhine, barges have only been able to carry 800 tons, down from their usual 2,500 tons.
This is the third energy blow to hit Switzerland in the past several months Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to cause gas shortages, while reactor troubles in France have reduced Switzerland’s nuclear energy imports. Bern is currently preparing for the possibility of four-hour regional blackouts during the winter.
While drought-caused supply constraints are unlikely to last beyond the next few months, there is a strong possibility that Switzerland will continue to release oil reserves beyond September to counteract energy insecurity from other sources. In the medium term, Bern will likely increase its liquid natural gas capacity as an alternative to Russian gas, likely importing from Norway and the EU, as well as increase its hydropower capacity to improve energy independence.