Switzerland will have to reduce consumption of Russian gas in the event of interruptions in its supply to Europe, Thomas Hegglin of the Swiss Gas Industry Association (VSG) said, Trend reports citing the AWP financial agency.
According to Hegglin, despite this, the country will have an advantage over other countries due to gas supplies from Azerbaijan and North Africa.
"We must be prepared for this. The shortage of Russian gas supplies cannot be fully compensated within Europe, at least in the short term, and without reducing its consumption," he noted. "However, even in this scenario Switzerland will have an advantage, because it will be able to continue to receive gas from the south - from North Africa through Italy, as well as from Azerbaijan."
If there was a shortage in Switzerland, the Confederation would take management measures, the VSG’s expert stressed.
"The measures include switching to fuel oil for consumers’ dual-fuel (in which fuel oil can be replaced by natural gas), calls for savings and limiting requirements for large consumers. However, Swiss gas supplies are now largely secure. There should be enough gas for its industry, even though prices are at an exceptionally high level," Hegglin further noted.
"However, securing gas supply in the coming winter could be a big challenge. That is why the Federal Council already decided on the measures at the beginning of March. Thus, it is expected that gas companies will be able to start joint purchases of gas, storage capacity and liquefied natural gas (LNG)," he added.
Solutions for next winter
According to Hegglin, VSG intends to propose a possible solution to the Federal Council, together with the responsible departments and authorities.
The EU wants to reduce imports of Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of the year compared to the previous year. More than 40 percent of imported gas comes from Russia: in particular, Germany depends on Russian imports. In comparison, gas consumption in Switzerland is very low and accounts for about 15 percent of the country's total energy demand.
Azerbaijani gas supplies to Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor began on December 31, 2020. For the first time in history, Azerbaijan exported its natural gas to the European market through pipelines. With direct access to the European market, which is the world's largest importer of natural gas, Azerbaijan has diversified its export opportunities. TAP, which is the European part of the Southern Gas Corridor, will annually supply eight billion cubic meters of gas to Italy and one billion cubic meters of gas to Greece and Bulgaria.
To date, Azerbaijan’s gas exports to Europe via TAP have reached 10.9 billion cubic meters.