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Opinion
Javier Blas

Germany’s Switch to Diesel From Gas Comes at a Cost

With Russian gas supplies still at risk, German industry is turning to oil to power its factories. It may just be swapping one problem for another.

It’s a gas, gas gas. For now.

It’s a gas, gas gas. For now.

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Across Germany, executives have spent the last few months war gaming how to respond if Russian President Vladimir Putin cuts off gas supplies. And many, from tiny companies to global behemoths, have arrived at the same solution: switch to oil.

In Munich, the municipal utility has converted two gas-fired boilers to run on diesel. Further South, in the German Alps, the Berchtesgadener Land farming cooperative has sent two milk-truck drivers to learn how to handle an oil-delivery rig, just in case they need to buy. To the North, the Veltins beer brewery near Dusseldorf has stockpiled five weeks’ worth of diesel to prepare for an emergency shift away from gas.