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More U.S. crude oil is going to Asia as close to two-thirds of France’s refining capacity remains paralyzed by industrial action.
Earlier today, the French government threatened to break down the blockades workers have set up at refineries and oil depots to resume the flow of fuels to end consumers.
Meanwhile, per a Bloomberg report, Asian refiners bought at least 12 million barrels of U.S. crude in the last two weeks as the strikes in France slashed demand.
The increased Asian buying came predominantly from refiners in South Korea that snapped up cargos of West Texas Intermediate Midland for January delivery at a premium of $9 per barrel over the Dubai benchmark, traders told Bloomberg.
The report also mentioned that Exxon had diverted one cargo of U.S. light crude from its original destination in France to the UK, and that it was offering more U.S. crude on the market.
Refinery workers went on strike in France two weeks ago, which caused shortages of fuel at retail stations and forced France to tap its strategic fuel reserves last week. What’s perhaps worse is that there is no deal in sight for the striking workers.
Earlier this week, the CGT union said the latest wage offer by TotalEnergies was tantamount to “blackmail” and the strike will continue. At the same time, workers at two Exxon refineries in France are striking, too, demanding higher salaries in response to inflation.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.