Full reservoirs and gas storage – No war-related energy crisis
A side effect of the record-breaking heat this winter: the water levels in the Swiss reservoirs are higher than they have been in the past twenty years. A filling level of 75 percent means an increase of 16.4 percent compared to the long-term average.
The Spitallamm dam on the Grimsel in the Bernese Oberland. (September 2020 recording)
But the gas storage facilities in Germany, France and Italy are also fuller than usual. This is the situation a good ten months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Fears of an impending energy shortage as a result of the war in Europe have thus proven to be unfounded.
The Swiss reservoirs are currently 75 percent full, as the Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) announced on Thursday. That is 16.4 percent more than the average over the past 20 years.
The gas storage facilities in Germany, which are also important for the Swiss energy supply, are currently 90.7 percent full. The fill level is also above the long-term average. In the last ten years, this was only 72.2 percent at the same time.
The gas storage facilities in France are currently 83.9 percent full and those in Italy 82.0 percent. This is the result of the daily updated data from the industry association Gas Infrastructure Europe.
Since April last year – about two months after the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24 – Russian President Vladimir Putin had turned off the gas taps for several countries – in response to Western sanctions and arms deliveries to Ukraine. As a result, prices for both natural gas and oil shot up.
On August 30, Putin halted all natural gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, and in October, together with Saudi Arabia, he pushed through the cut in oil production.
In the meantime, however, the oil price has returned to pre-war levels. And Western Europe has decoupled from Russian natural gas with unexpected speed. The price of European natural gas fell to its lowest level since mid-February 2022 on Wednesday.