French strikes hit refining, LNG imports

(Reuters) - France's fuel supplies have been disrupted by more than three weeks of strikes against the government's pension overhaul, with production halted at three of its seven refineries, reduced at two, and two others undergoing maintenance.

To keep supplies flowing, companies have been dipping into stockpiles, while government requisition orders have ensured deliveries to some hard-hit regions.

The orders have not been renewed, but the energy ministry says the government is keeping a close eye on the situation.

As of Monday night, 17% of fuel stations were missing at least one product, France's petroleum association UFIP said, citing energy ministry data.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals have also been blocked, halting imports at three sites.

Here are the companies and sites affected:


Strikes have stretched into a 22nd day, blocking deliveries of oil products from four TotalEnergies refineries and hitting output at two of them as storages fill.

Production has been stopped as of March 21 at its 240,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Gonfreville refinery in northern France and production is reduced at its 119,000 bpd Feyzin refinery in the south, the company said.

A requisition order from March 24 to the morning of March 27 required fuel shipments from the Gonfreville storage depot to the Ile-de-France region, which includes the capital Paris.

Kerosene fuel from the refinery is also used by Paris airports. The French civil aviation authority (DGAC) has ordered flights from Paris-Orly airport to be cut by a fifth on March 30 and a quarter on March 31.

TotalEnergies' La Mede biorefinery in southern France, which can process 500,000 tons of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) per year, has been shut for maintenance since the week before the strike action started.

Refining has been stopped for several weeks at the 230,000 bpd Donges refinery in the west due to technical reasons, which a company spokesperson previously attributed to a transformer.

Requisition orders forced workers to ship fuel from Donges' storage depot from March 24 to March 27.


Strikes have also affected ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso's 240,000 bpd Port Jerome-Gravenchon refinery in northern France, where the blockage of the Le Havre terminal has stopped crude imports, forcing the company to halt production on March 25.

Operations are expected to resume when the company has reliable crude supply, a spokesperson said, adding the restart phases would take several weeks.

Production has been reduced at the 140,000 bpd Fos refinery in southern France where deliveries have been disrupted since March 7.

The French government imposed a requisition order at the fuel depot site operated by Fos Petroleum Depots (DPF) from March 21 to the evening of March 24.


The 210,000 bpd Petroineos Lavera refinery in the south of France has been closed for about a week.

"The only thing that could change at (Lavera) is a resumption of work ... but as of today we're far from finished," Sud Chimie union representative Gaetan Basset said on Tuesday.


Deliveries of LNG to Engie subsidiary Elengy's three terminals have been blocked since March 7.


Force majeure was declared at Fluxys' Dunkirk LNG terminal in northern France after disruptions resumed Tuesday morning, which lasted until early Wednesday, restricting delivery capacity to 70 gigawatt-hours per day.

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