Swiss government, gas industry work to boost gas reserves

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Tanks containing natural gas are seen at a storage facility of Erdgas Ostschweiz AG company in Schlieren, Switzerland March 4, 2022. Picture taken with a drone March 4, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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ZURICH, May 18 (Reuters) - The Swiss government and the country's natural gas sector have agreed to boost storage capacity in neighbouring countries and secure extra supply options ahead of winter, the cabinet said on Wednesday.

Switzerland depends on imports for gas and does not have its own gas storage facilities. Gas accounts for around 15% of the country's overall energy consumption.

The plans seek to set up a winter gas reserve that would minimise the impact should Russian gas supplies be disrupted.

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Swiss suppliers secure regular supplies partly through storage mainly in neighbouring countries.

"This physical reserve is intended to cover 15% (around 6 TWh) of Switzerland's annual gas consumption (around 35 TWh). Around half of this physical reserve is already booked by the regional companies Gaznat and GVM in France," the cabinet said.

In addition to regular procurements, 6 TWh are to be purchased via options for non-Russian gas in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, which can be accessed at short notice for a fixed fee, it said.

This corresponds to around 20% of Swiss winter consumption, and also diversifies delivery routes.

An energy task force is due to report by mid-June on how to manage the gas reserve.

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Reporting by Michael Shields. Editing by Jane Merriman

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