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Protests In France Force Exxon To Shut Port Jerome Refinery

An extension of the current strikes at France’s Le Havre port has cut off crude oil deliveries to ExxonMobil’s nearby Port Jerome refinery, according to the CGT trade union.

Exxon’s Port Jerome refinery—a 236,000 bpd refinery in northern France—and the Gravenchon petrochemicals plant will stop operations today, CGT said, according to Argus. The refinery was originally expected to close earlier this week as the strikes drug on, but the refinery received a shipment of crude oil from Libya.

TotalEnergies’ Gonfreville refinery also shut down earlier in the week—a refinery producing 246,900 barrels per day. Four workers from this refiner were tasked by police to release jet fuel stocks last night, intended for airports in Paris.

Other refineries in France that are shuttered are Total’s 219,000 bpd Donges refinery and Petroineos’ 207,000 bpd Lavera refinery.

Strikes have shut down the refineries as French President Emmanuel Macron pushed through a controversial pension reform without a vote in Parliament under parliamentary clause 49:3. The pension reform would raise the retirement age in France by two years, to age 64.

The strikes have disrupted power supply, refining operations, and fuel deliveries for nearly two weeks. 

Apart from refining operations, the strikes have disrupted LNG imports into France as LNG import terminals have been shut down.

France has four LNG receiving terminals, Dunkirk, Montoir, Fos Cavaou, and Fos Tonkin. At least seven LNG cargoes heading to France have changed course since the strikes were implemented and are now headed to alternate ports in the Netherlands, the UK, and Spain.

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The retirement-age strikes have been going on for the better part of this year, although France’s refineries have seen a multitude of closures due to strikes stemming from other issues such as pay.

Total and ExxonMobil hold most of the refining capacity in France.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com



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