25 October 2010 11:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Industrial action in France, which has crippled the country’s crude supplies and refining operations, continued on Monday as the government announced the disruption was costing the country's economy between €200-400m ($281-563m) a day.
Finance minister Christine Lagarde said the protests over president Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62 and full pension entitlement from 65 to 67 had adversely affected businesses and France’s image, media reports said.
Last week, the French Chemical Industry Union said in a statement it was losing €100m euros ($138m) a day because of the strikes.
The protests, along with an unrelated strike at Marseille’s Fos-Lavera oil port that began on 27 September, has caused massive supply disruptions and panic-buying at gasoline stations across ?xml:namespace>
Meanwhile, around 200 protestors seized control and blocked an oil depot at Fos-sur-Mer, according to news agency
The shutdowns have seriously affected downstream users, with a variety of chemical producers suffering from a lack of refined feedstock. Some producers have begun to cut chemical production or declared force majeure (FM) on products as availability diminishes.
Total announced it had now completely stopped production at all of its French refineries at Grandpuits, Donges, La Mede, Gonfreville and Feyzin, due to crude supply issues and strike action taken by workers.
Total spokesperson, Michael Crochet Vourey, said that group were still managing to supply its customers despite some difficulties.
In addition, ExxonMobil's merged Port Jerome-Gravenchon refinery and Fos-sur-Mer plant, LyondellBasell’s refinery at Berre L'Etang, INEOS’s Lavera plant, and Petroplus’s refineries at Petit Couronne and Reichstett, were all either operating at minimum throughput levels or shutting production altogether.
Two more protests have already been planned for 28 October and 2 November and sources have said the earliest possible date for normal production to resume would not be before 6 November.
($1 = €0.71)
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