14 October 2010 11:36 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--French refineries faced further misery as national strike action rolled into its third day and protests at Marseille’s Fos-Lavera oil port entered its 18th day, severely cutting feedstock supplies, companies said on Thursday.
The majority of refineries in France have been paralysed by strike action with most operating at minimum throughput levels while others have even been forced to freeze output altogether.
Total was still in the process of halting production at its refineries in Gonfreville, Feyzin, Donges and Grandpuits, after workers voted in the morning to again join the national rolling strike in protest over President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reforms. The shutdowns would take a few days to complete.
Spokesman Michael Crochet-Vourey said that Total was forced to halt output at all of its operating refineries in ?xml:namespace>
“The situation has not changed – we are still in the process of stopping production at our operating refineries (in
Total was forced to begin a production shutdown at its refinery at La Mede in southern
INEOS’s Lavera plant was also running at reduced levels due to crude supply issues from the key Mediterranean oil
“Further decisions on plant operating rates will be taken in coming days depending on the development of the situation at the port,” Longden said.
“We are constantly watching the situation he said,” he added.
Crude supply issues at Fos-Lavera have also caused cutbacks in production at ExxonMobil’s Fos-sur-Mer plant and LyondellBasell’s Berre L'Etang refinery, which are locally based, as well as refineries in the north that receive crude deliveries through a pipeline from the Fos-Lavera terminal: including Petroplus’s Reichstett refinery in France and its Cressier plant in Switzerland.
ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell and Petroplus were all unavailable for comment on their refinery throughput levels.
Arkema said earlier that it had declared force majeure on supplies of oxo-alcohols from its Lavera, France, plant as a result of the strikes.
French Government ministers have sought to reassure the public that there was no threat of an imminent shortage of fuel and urged drivers not to rush to petrol pumps, according to media reports.
On Wednesday, the International Energy Agency's (IEA) monthly report said that major strike action in
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