Natural gas meets about 15 per cent of Switzerland's energy requirements. In this country, it is mainly used for heating and cooking – around 30,000 homes are heated with gas – as well as in industry. Compared with many other European countries, Switzerland uses very little gas.
Switzerland has neither its own natural gas reserves nor large domestic storage capacities, so all the natural gas it uses must be imported. Swiss gas companies purchase natural gas on trading platforms in neighbouring EU countries. Switzerland imports about half of all its natural gas from Russia. As a major transit country in the heart of Europe, it is very well integrated into the European natural gas transport network. The transit pipeline between Germany and Italy can be used in either direction. Switzerland also has a widespread domestic transport network.
Gas supply in Switzerland is largely controlled by the industry sector. If it is no longer able to meet the shortage with its own resources, the state intervenes. The National Economic Supply organisation (NES) is responsible for preparing and implementing management measures in the event of gas shortages.
NES measures in the event of gas shortages
If gas were in short supply, consumers would first be asked to reduce their gas consumption voluntarily. The federal government could also require companies with dual-fuel installations to switch from gas to heating oil.
If there were still too little gas available, gas quotas could be imposed on large consumers without dual-fuel installations. If necessary, companies could be required to stop operating. Only in a third stage would private households also be affected and have to reduce their gas consumption. Heating systems, including hot water in many cases, would no longer be available around the clock.