Workers at Port Jerome and Lavera Refinery on Strike, Jeopardising the Capacity of French Oil Refineries
Workers at Port Jerome and Lavera Refinery on Strike, Jeopardising the Capacity of French Oil Refineries

Workers at Port Jerome and Lavera Refinery on Strike, Jeopardising the Capacity of French Oil Refineries

  • 27-Mar-2023 2:21 PM
  • Journalist: Robert Hume

France: The prolonged strikes by dock workers at France's two main oil ports, Le Havre and Fos-Lavera, may result in the shutdown of the nation's remaining oil refining capacity. Because of this, ExxonMobil's 236,000 b/d Port Jerome refinery in northern France may have to stop operating, which might worsen the current fuel shortages. Undetermined duration is attached to the strike action.

After today's forced closure, workers at Port Jerome and the Gravenchon petrochemicals plant in France will only have two operational refineries left. This is because workers at ports and refineries are currently on a national strike over the government's proposed pension reforms. A cargo of Libyan crude was delivered on March 20, which caused the suspension to be postponed until today, according to the CGT trade union. The stoppage has not yet been confirmed by refinery officials.

According to sources, the police reportedly requisitioned four employees of TotalEnergies' Gonfreville refinery Friday night. As per the reports, the inventories that were released were jet fuel for the airports in Paris. Picketing outside the refinery is thought to have increased as a result of the requisitioning. The company further acknowledged the occurrence but referred inquiries to regional law enforcement. Due to incidents at two of its plants and industrial action, TotalEnergies has experienced severe interruption. No shipments are leaving either the La Mede HVO plant or the Donges refinery, which have both been fully stopped down. The logistics depot in Flanders is also currently blocked off. Although only partially, the Carling petrochemical plant is still in operation.

The 207,100 b/d Lavera refinery owned by Petroineos had to suspend operations earlier this week. Two other French refineries, the 109,300 b/d Feyzin facility near Lyon and the 133,000 b/d Fos plant owned by ExxonMobil, also provide service to the Fos-Lavera port. Despite the fact that neither factory is currently shipping any products out, Fos and Feyzin are still open. Since there aren't any crude offloads at the Fos-Lavera complex right now, it's still unclear how long they can keep going.

The strike will now expire on March 31 after dockworkers at the Fos-Lavera port decided to let it last an extra week. A line of petroleum and oil product cargoes have been left at anchor in or near Fos-Lavera as a result of this expansion, with some smaller vessels berthed. Some of the supplies, which have been in the pipeline since March 14th, are from Libya, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Angola. A lesser quantity of Italian crude has been arriving since the end of February.

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