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Refinery Crisis Has French Oil Major Rethinking Investment Strategy

French Total SA (NYSE: TOT) says it would reconsider its investment plans in France, according to CEO Patrick Pouyanne.

Patrick Pouyanne, speaking outside the annual shareholders meeting in France, said it would “seriously reconsider” its French investments in the wake of the union-led labor protests that have forced Total to shut down several refineries.

This, after Pouyanne’s May 18 statement that it was interested in French shale production. “I am ready to finance exploration because I think the debate has started on uncertain grounds. If I’m allowed to do so, it would be either to recognize a lack of potential so we can stop fighting for nothing; or on the contrary, if we find the right amount of resources the country will decide what to do with it,” Pouyanne said during a hearing of the economic commission of the French.

Related: Key Pipeline Could Unleash Alberta’s Oil Sands

French police liberated a critical fuel depot that was under blockade from union protestors this morning, in an effort to remedy fuel shortages across the country after nearly 12 percent of France’s gas stations had either run out of gas or were on the verge of running out. One police officer was injured during the police action, and the police responded by firing teargas.

Workers at six French oil refineries are still on strike, and four more fuel depots are still being affected by protestors.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has opined that the country is being held hostage by protesters through its refineries, and that this will not be allowed to continue, indicating that security forces will be used to break the strikes—a statement which was backed up during this morning’s police action.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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