13 October 2010 16:41 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Total has been forced to halt output at all of its refineries in France after national strikes and crude supply issues made it impossible to carry on production, the energy major said on Wednesday.
Spokesman Michael Crochet-Vourey said that workers at Donges and Grandpuits, which joined the national strike on Tuesday resulting in the group freezing production at the plants, would again protest over President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reforms.
In addition, Total was pressured to halt production at its refineries in Gonfreville and Feyzin after workers voted in the morning to go on a rolling strike. A shutdown would take a few days to complete.
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Total was forced to begin a production shutdown at its refinery at La Mede in southern
Crochet-Vourey said that despite it was beginning to freeze production at all of its operating refineries, it would still be able to supply customers.
"We do our best to supply our customers, we have been doing so far without any difficulties," he added.
Meanwhile, traders were watching the situation very closely as there were concerns that further strike action would have a big impact on the pricing of chemicals if disruptions were to continue.
One French buyer of vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) said that although it had not been affected by the strikes as yet, the situation could change very quickly in the coming days, as most of the refineries were now partly shutting down which could affect feedstock availability.
Sources were also reluctant to let go of any available volume due to a lack of transport links caused by the national strike action. There was also an uncertainty and a lack of confidence that the situation would be resolved soon.
The trader added that logistics were not running properly due to delays on the railways and that priority was being given to public transport rather than goods travel.
Another source said the ethylene market was tight as the movement of vessels carrying product from the
Additional reporting by Jane Massingham, Nel Weddle, Heidi Finch and Truong Mellor
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