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Strikes In France Halt Fuel Deliveries From Three Refineries

On Thursday, a strike in France halted wholesale fuel deliveries from three refineries operated by TotalEnergies on the first day of a series of planned nationwide strikes in many sectors against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age.  

The Donges, Normandy, and Feyzin refineries of TotalEnergies stopped the wholesale supply of gasoline and diesel today, and the refinery at Feyzin had to reduce processing rates to a minimum, the CGT trade union told Bloomberg.

TotalEnergies and the French unit of ExxonMobil hold most of the refining capacity in France. The strikes against Macron’s unpopular pension reform are expected to continue with new industrial actions later in January and in early February, and they could further disrupt fuel supply in France, just as the EU embargo on imported Russian oil products by sea comes into force on February 5.

According to the CGT union, France will see a 48-hour strike on January 26, and a three-day strike in February. 

On Thursday, fuel supply was disrupted from TotalEnergies refineries, but there were fewer signs of disruption at the Exxon refineries.

The nationwide strike, which affected public transportation and schools, too, comes three months after refinery workers went on strike for weeks in September and October amid a pay row.

Strikes at refineries in France in the autumn of 2022 left more than 60% of the country’s refining capacity offline while gas stations in and around Paris and in the northern part of the country began to run out of fuel. France moved then to requisition essential workers to staff Exxon’s French oil depot and threatened to do the same for TotalEnergies’ French refineries if talks failed to progress. Strikes at Exxon’s refineries ended after some of the French trade unions reached an agreement with the company for a 7% pay rise.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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