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Seven French oil refineries hit by general strike

December 06/2019

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Staff at seven of France's eight refineries joined a general strike Thursday, affecting oil product deliveries, reported S&P Global with reference to companies and media reports.

French labor unions including the CGT, FO and FSU had called on employees in all sectors to take part in industrial action against the government's pension reforms.

Total reported difficulties in accessing its terminals at the Gonfreville, Grandpuits, Donges and Feyzin refineries and La Mede biofuels plant Thursday morning, the company said. In addition, access had been difficult to the terminals at Portes-les-Valence and Puget-sur-Argens.

Total said, with 200 oil terminals in France, supply to its retail stations had not been affected, despite the blockades.

Employees at Petroineos' Lavera refinery in the south of the country also joined the strike Thursday morning, according to media reports. This was expected to severely disrupt operations at the major Mediterranean refined products hub that could cause up to 10 days' delay for loadings, traders said. The company declined to comment.

The refineries will continue to operate, albeit at reduced rates, a union source said.

ExxonMobil, which operates the Gravenchon refinery near Le Havre and the Fos-sur-Mer plant in the south, said Gravenchon had not been hit by the strike, but there had been a minor impact on road traffic due to external blockades around the site.

At Fos, "a limited number of employees" had joined the protest and as a consequence truck and rail loadings were disrupted, while the refinery continued to operate at normal throughput, the company said.

Rail transport in France was particularly affected, with a strike at national train company SNCF as well as at RATP, the operator of Paris' public transport system. Around 90% of high speed trains are affected, with many flightsalso cancelled.

Ports around France were also halting work for 24 hours Thursday, the Federation of Ports and Docks, part of the CGT union, said in a statement.

Shipping sources said operations at ports are not disrupted significantly because not too many vessels are loading, but concerns are mounting that the strike might be extended into Friday.

As MRC informed before, France's Feyzin refinery was in the process of halting units and the steam cracker was running at reduced rates on 9 October, 2019. Local media had reported earlier that the refinery had been halting operations since Monday, 7 October, due to a strike. The company said it regrets the decision by labor unions to call a strike while discussions were ongoing with refinery staff about a planned indefinite closure of a unit due to lower product demand.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,724,670 tonnes in the first ten months of 2019, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market in January-October 2019 totalled 1,066,520 tonnes, up by 7% year on year. Supply of block copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymer) and homopolymer of propylene (homopolymer PP) increased, demand for statistical copolymers (PP random copolymer) decreased.


mrcplast.com
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, PP block copolymer, homopolymer PP, PP random copolymer, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, Exxon Mobil, Total Petrochemicals, Russia, France.
Category:General News
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