Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Switzerland 2012 Review

Energy Policy Review

About this report

Oil has been a dominant energy source in Switzerland, accounting for around 40% of the country’s total primary energy supply (TPES) in 2010. Switzerland’s oil demand has decreased from 274 kb/d in 2000 to 236 kb/d in 2011. The transport sector accounted for about 56% of the total oil consumption in 2010.
As Switzerland has no domestic oil production, it is entirely dependent upon crude oil and oil products imports. In 2011, its oil imports were around 236 kb/d, consisting of 88 kb/d of crude oil, 2 kb/d of NGLs and feedstock, and 149 kb/d of refined products. More than 60% of the total crude oil imports came from countries of the Former Soviet Union in 2011. In the country, there are two refineries with a total crude distillation capacity of around 125 kb/d.
Switzerland meets its stockholding obligation to the IEA by placing a stockholding obligation on industry. Oil product importers are obliged to hold at least 4.5 months of stocks for motor gasoline, diesel and heating oils and 3 months for jet fuels, based on their 3-year average share in imports or sales. Switzerland held 35 mb of oil stocks at the end of February 2012, equating to 149 days of 2010 net-imports. All oil stocks are held in the form of oil products, and commingled with commercial stocks.
The use of emergency oil stocks is central to Switzerland’s emergency response policy, which can be complemented by demand restraint measures. In an IEA coordinated action, the Administration would participate with the release of compulsory stocks.
The share of natural gas in the country’s TPES stood at 12% in 2010. Switzerland’s gas demand increased from 3.0 bcm (8.1 mcm/d) in 2000 to 3.7 bcm (10.1 mcm/d) in 2010. As Switzerland has no natural gas production, all of the gas demand is met by imports through pipelines. Switzerland’s total natural gas imports in 2010 amounted to 3.7 bcm.
The key elements of Switzerland’s overall gas security policy are compulsory stocks in the form of heating oil for fuel switching, an allocation scheme for large consumers (as of 2013) and demand restraint measures. Switzerland obliges all gas importers to hold compulsory stocks in the form of natural gas or heating oil, or to participate in building such stocks. The equivalent of 4.5 months of natural gas consumption is held in the form of heating oil stocks. 
In the event of gas supply disruption, the Swiss Federal Council can oblige dual-fuel gas consumers to switch gas to fuel oils. The dual-fuel gas installations account for around 40% of the total natural gas consumption in Switzerland. To prepare for the situation where fuel switching is not sufficient to compensate for a gas supply shortfall, the Administration will implement an allocation scheme for non-switchable large consumers.