To prevent a petrol and diesel shortage in Switzerland, the federal authorities have decided to tap the nation’s emergency reserves.
There are three reasons for the decision – mainly a technical problem at Switzerland’s only refinery, located in Cressier in canton Neuchâtel. In addition, the River Rhine is quite low, preventing imports via ship – at least for heavy loads like fuel. Lastly, Germany’s busy federal railways don’t currently have the capacity to bring extra fuel to Switzerland.
“Companies can temporarily avail of Switzerland’s compulsory stocks,” said Lucio Gastaldi of the Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES)external link on Tuesday.
FONES has made the following quantities available: 50 million litres of diesel and 40 million litres of petrol. Those figures represent 4.5% of the total diesel and 2.5% of the total petrol reserves. If imports stopped altogether, the total emergency reserves would last for about four or five months.
The government expects the situation to improve once the refinery in Cressier is up and running again – most likely by the middle of next week. The refinery, run by Varo Energy, produces a quarter of the refined products sold in Switzerland. The reason for the standstill is a leak in a heat exchanger.
swissinfo.ch and agencies