June 1, 2023

Pensions: the government is trying to limit fuel shortages

In order not to see the long queues of last fall in front of service stations, the government is taking the lead. While the social movement against the pension reform is becoming more radical, the State announced this Tuesday morning the first requisitions of essential personnel in the oil depot of Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseille.

“The requisition is valid for 48 hours, starting March 21. It concerns three employees per shift (5 a.m. to 12 p.m.; 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.; 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.), “said the Ministry of Energy Transition. This fuel depot supplies the Paca region and the east of the Occitanie region, as well as “shipments by pipeline to the Lyon region”.

The government has punctually drawn “in a targeted manner” from strategic stocks “everywhere in the territory” since “beginning of March”.

Measure challenged in summary proceedings

“The requisitions for acts of strike are illegal”, affirmed Eric Sellini, elected representative of the CGT chemistry, federation which indicated to have attacked the measure in summary. “The prefect did not even provide a specific reason for this requisition. It would have been to help emergency services, services essential to the nation, we would not oppose it, ”explained the trade unionist to “Echos”.

“This blocking situation penalizes our fellow citizens, hinders the functioning of our country and threatens our economy”, assured Agnès Pannier-Runacher. The Minister for Energy Transition explained that she “has no choice but to requisition”. “These are targeted requisitions, which concern a limited number of employees, which are very legally framed,” she said.

12% short gas stations

The French Union of Petroleum Industries (Ufip) believes that this measure has “avoided a more difficult situation” in the region. Just over half of Bouches-du-Rhône service stations lack at least one type of fuel, and 41% are dry, according to public data. The shortages particularly affect Gard and Vaucluse, where the prefectures have decided to limit fuel sales, until Thursday inclusive, to 30 liters per vehicle.

At the national level, around 12% of service stations in France were out of petrol or diesel, and 6% were dry. The lack of fuel also affects some western departments, such as Loire-Atlantique or Ille-et-Vilaine.

“There is no risk of fuel shortage at the national level because the stocks, in the mesh depots, are at their maximum”, indicates the president of Ufip, Olivier Gantois. According to him, only a dozen of these deposits out of the 200 that mesh the territory are currently blocked.

Avoid precautionary purchases

In the afternoon, TotalEnergies recalled that only 4% of all its refinery staff were on strike, ie 115 people out of 2,647 employees. Regarding the group’s sites, its Normandy refinery in Gonfreville-l’Orcher was “being put into cold shutdown”. Fuel shipments were also interrupted at its competitor ExxonMobil in Notre-Dame-de-Gravenchon in 30 kilometers upstream.

On Tuesday, about fifteen employees on the shift workforce were on strike on the site. “It’s enough to block deliveries”, explains to “Echos” Germinal Lancelin, central union delegate CGT ExxonMobil. The strike movement, he specifies, was “decided on Friday by the inter-union in reaction to the triggering of article 49.3 on pensions”.

On the port of Le Havre, the oil depots of the CIM & CCMP which supply them with crude oil by pipelines, are stopped according to our information. The CGT says it renewed the weekend strike on Tuesday by “closing the floodgates for 72 hours”, according to Johann Senay, deputy secretary of the local CGT union in Le Havre. If the blockage of the CIM & CMPP oil depots continues, other consequences are to be expected. They supply the Paris region and the Loire Valley with refined products and the Paris airports with kerosene.

On the other hand, the Feyzin refinery (south of Lyon) operates “at reduced flow”. Fuel shipments are interrupted there, as is the La Mède biorefinery (Bouches-du-Rhône), currently under construction.

Beyond the fuel depots, the government unblocked the Donges oil terminal overnight from Monday to Tuesday, occupied for a week by strikers. The operation was carried out “to facilitate the unloading of a cargo of diesel”. The Total refinery in Donges has been on technical shutdown for several weeks, before the start of the social movement.

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