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Gas Stations in France Running On Empty As Strikes Enter Fourth Day

Diesel and petrol stations in France are running out of fuel, according to an industry union, as a refining strike takes its toll.

Stations around the le Havre and Lyon have been affected, according to the GCT union.

France was already battling a shortage of refined products, with Russia’s exports to Europe falling in recent months. But then French refinery strikes initially took half of the nation’s refining capacity offline, hoping to resolve a dispute over pay.

The strike, which among others, took Total’s 240,000 bpd Gonfreville refinery offline as well as a couple of Exxon’s, was expected to conclude on Thursday.

But on Friday, reports came in that strikes were disrupting Total’s oil products refining and delivery for a fourth day. The total refining sector outages in France now make up 60% of the nation’s total refining capacity, Reuters calculations show.

Earlier this week, Total said it was preparing to service all of its stations through the strike, whereas Exxon limited how much refined crude products it was sending to its customers in France. Exxon also said at the time that it had a supply response team in place to be able to continue to supply product from “unaffected sources”.

France’s total refining capacity is roughly 1.4 million bpd—the fourth highest in Europe.

TotalEnergies said on Friday that there was no impending fuel shortage due to the strikes since the company built up its stocks and is importing.

“There is no need to rush to the station (for gas),” TotalEnergies said on Friday. Despite those affirmations, Reuters also reported on Friday that France’s largest sugar maker, Tereos, said it had to curtail production somewhat at some of its factories after Total advised it that it would not be able to supply it with any more diesel until the end of the week.

The CGT union said that the strikes could potentially last past Friday.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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