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French refinery strike extended; staff at Feyzin votes to halt units

Staff at France’s refineries continued their strike March 8 as part of protests against the government’s pension reform plan.

Staff at Feyzin have voted to halt units, whereas staff at other refineries, including Gonfreville and Fos, have decided to extend the strike for another 24 hours, which would see it continue March 9, according to local media reports and Twitter messages.

Production has been reduced at Lavera, but the refinery continues to operate, according to reports.

The CGT union said staff in many sectors, including energy and ports, had decided to extend the strike and had called for another day of nationwide protests March 11.

Meanwhile, the dispatch of oil products from French refineries remained blocked March 8 after staff joined protests March 7.

All refineries have been affected by the blockade, including TotalEnergies’ Gonfreville, Donges, Feyzin and La Mede, ExxonMobil’s Gravenchon and Fos, and Petroineos’ Lavera, according to reports.

TotalEnergies confirmed the blockades March 7 and 8, adding that there were no shortages of refined product at retail stations and stocks at oil depots were high. The company also noted March 8 a drop in the number of staff joining the protests.

There are 200 oil depots in France that supply around 11,000 service stations, the French energy group said, adding it relies on 50 depots for supplying its network. All depots were continuing to supply, according to local media.

The dispatch of refined product remained blocked at ExxonMobil’s refineries in France, although “a very limited number of people” had declared support for the strike, the oil group said March 8, adding that its inland terminals were operating and supplying the service station network.

Staff at the southern plant of Lavera also joined the action March 7 and voted to extend it, according to local media citing a union source. Operator Petroineos declined to comment.

Disruptions at ports also continued after the French federation of port and dock workers, part of the CGT labor union, called on port workers to halt work for 48 hours over March 7-8.

Operations have been affected at ports, including Lavera in the Mediterranean, Le Havre and Rouen in the Northwest, and La Rochelle, Brest and Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic Coast, as well as ports on the river Rhine.

Vessel operations were suspended from the evening of March 6 until the evening of March 8, adding to existing delays, shipping sources said.
Source: Platts

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