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Germany Releases Strategic Fuel Reserve to Cope With Record Drought

© Sputnik / Ольга Головко / Go to the mediabankRhine River in Dusseldorf, Germany
Rhine River in Dusseldorf, Germany - Sputnik International
Record-low water levels in the Rhine have severely disrupted oil shipments across the country.

The German government has authorized the use of strategic oil reserves in order to mitigate the consequences of a record drought that has hit the Rhine area in the last few weeks. Thanks to the record-low water levels in the river, the nation's internal deliveries of oil have been severely disrupted, says a report by Phys.org.

Months of scarce precipitation and hot sunny weather has driven the water level to such a low mark that German barges have either dramatically reduced their load in order to simply stay afloat or halted their service altogether. On Friday, Cologne reported a water level of just 73 centimeters.

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While the railroad is able to deliver a certain amount of oil to customers, it is not nearly enough to compensate for the decreased river traffic.

According to German law, the government is authorized to tap the strategic reserve of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to "relieve a local crisis situation."

This is only the fourth time the government has done it in 40 years, Wirtschaftswoche magazine says.

As for the "local" part, the affected region stretches from Hesse to Frankfurt and then to Baden-Wuerttemberg, bordering the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland.

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However, an economy ministry spokeswoman told reporters that the measure is only temporary and that it is "specifically aimed" at certain areas and that Germany is not facing a "long-term crisis."

According to Phys.org, German ingustrial giants Thyssenkrupp and BASF had to cut back production dut to "limited deliveries" or raw materials, while RWE energy group is struggling to supply the Hamm power plant with coal.

Other rivers have suffered because of the drought too, the report says, but without providing further details.

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