October 26, 2018 / 10:12 AM / 23 days ago

Germany releases oil product reserves to ease strain from low river levels

FILE PHOTO: A couple rests amid the river bed of the dried out Rhine, as water levels reached a historic low level and freight vessels cannot sail fully loaded on Europe's most important waterways, near Bacharach, Germany, October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany’s Economy Ministry said it authorized the release of oil products from national reserves to help states affected by tight supplies due to logistics hiccups caused by low river water levels.

The ministry authorized the release of 84,000 tonnes crude oil equivalent of gasoline, 180,000 tonnes of diesel fuel and 67,000 tonnes of jet fuel from stocks administered by the Erdoelbevorratungsverband (EBV) agency in Hamburg.

Months of weak rainfall have dried up river water on the Rhine, western Germany’s major river transport artery, making it hard for barges to sail fully loaded and fully supply regional filling stations, airports and heating oil distributors.

The gasoline and diesel release is to take place in the German states of Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Wuerttemberg as well as the Unterfranken district of Bavaria on the Main river.

Jet fuel will be distributed to 10 locations across the Rhine Main area.

Earlier this week, the Swiss government had also authorized the temporary release of diesel from the country’s compulsory stockpile after low water levels on the Rhine reduced supplies to the country.

Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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