TotalEnergies Says Refineries Resuming Operations

Reuters, April 11, 2023

The Gonfreville refinery in northern France run by TotalEnergies started returning to operation on Tuesday, the company said, marking the last of its four domestic refineries to restart after a month-long strike.

However, the hardline CGT union will call for a walkout at all refineries on Thursday as part of a planned nationwide strike against the French government's plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 64, representative Eric Sellini told Reuters.

Workers began a walkout at the TotalEnergies' sites on March 7 against the pension reform, with both operations and deliveries from depot sites affected.

The strike at the Donges refinery in the west and La Mede biorefinery in the south ended on Friday, while the Feyzin refinery in the east began its return to service on April 4.

Blockages have also started to weaken elsewhere, as an Algerian cargo ship carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) discharged at the Fos terminal operated by Elengy in southern France over the Easter weekend, Refinitiv analysis showed. It was the first cargo to discharge in the south of France since the strike began over a month ago.

Elengy was not immediately available for comment on the status of the strike at their three LNG terminals.

Petrol stations were not hit as hard during the March strike compared to a similar action in October against the cost of living crisis, when the refinery blockages saw a shortage of at least one product in some 31% of French service stations.

(Reporting by Forrest Crellin and Benjamin Mallet; Editing by Silvia Aloisi and Mark Porter)

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