The government is looking for solutions to fuel supply problems affecting much of France, particularly due to strikes at TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil refineries. The decree published on Saturday, October 8, in Official newspaper exceptionally, the movement of trucks weighing more than 7.5 tons transporting hydrocarbons, which are usually parked on weekends, is allowed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday to oil depots, as well as to distribution points and to final consumers.
“The situation should continue to improve as we have received approvals for tankers to circulate this weekend” and “that we released from the strategic reserve”said Christophe Bechu, the minister of environmental transition, on Saturday on Franceinfo.
The strike resumed at three oil refineries
The General Confederation of Labor (CGT) announced the renewal of the strike on Saturday. According to the union, three French refineries are still closed: the largest TotalEnergies refinery in Normandy, as well as two US Esso-ExxonMobil refineries in Seine-Maritime and Bouches-du-Rhone.
Another TotalEnergies refinery in Fezine (Rhône) continues to produce, but supplies are blocked. Strikers were also mobilized in recent days at the Flanders fuel depot, near Dunkirk (North), on “bio-treatment plant” in La Med (Bouches du Rhône) and at the Grandpuys fuel storage (Seine-et-Marne) to reduce the outflow of petroleum products.
The oil group’s CGT is demanding a 10% pay rise, including 7% for inflation and 3% for “Sharing the wealth”. Management points out that it has already given an average increase of 3.5% in 2022 and refers to the 2023 salary negotiations scheduled for November 15.
The government is seeking an end to the conflict. “I call on interested enterprises, which for the most part have good results so far, to also consider requests for salary increases”Olivia Gregoire said Friday, without mentioning TotalEnergies by name and its $10.6 billion in first-half revenue.
A fifth of the stations are in “difficulty” on Friday
Blockades by strikers lead to a reduction in fuel supplies, so gas stations often run out of gasoline and diesel fuel. TotalEnergies operates nearly a third of France’s power stations.
The situation particularly affects the north of France and the Paris region. Friday noon “19% CTA” in France “had difficulties with at least one product”reports the Ministry of Energy, which is referred to “in Ile-de-France, the situation is stable with 25% of stations having problems with at least one product”. According to the Minister of Energy Transitions, 42% of stations were affected in Pas de Calais on Friday, and 43% in the north.
The government still rejects the prospect of restrictions on pumps: “We are not there, except for the ban on filling canisters or cans, especially in the north of France, where we have the most tense situation”Mr Bechu said on Saturday.