Switzerland has released emergency stocks of fuel after technical problems forced the closure of the country’s only refinery.
The supply problem is compounded by low water levels on the Rhine, which mean that ships are carrying less fuel. At the same time, the railways are already operating at full capacity, so the shortfall can’t be bridged by increased supplies from trains.
“On Monday, we decided to release reserves of 50,000 cubic meters for diesel and 40,000 cubic meters for gasoline,” Lucio Gastaldi from the Federal Office for National Economic Supply said.
This represents 2.5 percent of Switzerland’s emergency reserves of gasoline and 4.5 percent of its diesel reserves, Reuters reported. Companies can draw from the reserves based on their respective market shares.
Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung, which first reported the news, said that consumers should not see any increase in prices.
This is the first time Switzerland has used its fuel reserves since November 2010, when a strike at French refineries restricted shipments of oil products to the country via pipeline, according to oil, energy and metals news provider Platts.
The 68,000 barrels per day refinery shutdown happened in Cressier following a leak in the heat exchangers. Operator Varo Energy expects the facility to start operating again early this week.