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On Tuesday, a nationwide strike over proposed pension reform in France interrupted a shipment of fuel from refineries and a fuel depot for French supermajor TotalEnergies. The strikes are to protest French President Emmanuel Macron raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.
Ongoing strikes have plagued the country for weeks across multiple sectors, including the energy sector, teachers, and civil servants.
Workers at the TotalEnergy-owned Donges and Feyzin oil refineries went on strike Tuesday according to a representative of the Force Ouvriere trade union. Workers from the Flanders fuel depot have also joined the strikes grinding fuel deliveries to a standstill. It is not the first time that strikes have interrupted fuel deliveries this year.
The French strikes halted wholesale deliveries from 3 refineries operated by TotalEnergies two weeks ago. During those strikes, the Feyzin refinery had to reduce processing rates to a minimum while TotalEnergies' refineries in Donges, Normandy, and Feyzin were forced to stop the wholesale supply of diesel and gasoline.
Most of the refining capacity in France is held by the French unit of ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies and with the pension protest strikes expected to continue, France's fuel pipeline is facing uncertainty.
The most recent strikes come on the heels of strikes by refinery workers over a pay dispute that lasted for weeks in September and October. Those strikes took more than 60% of the country's refining capacity offline and left gas stations around Paris and in the northern part of the country dry.
To complicate matters, the current refinery worker strikes come as the EU banned petroleum product imports from Russia on February 5 in response to Moscow's ongoing war with Ukraine, which will greatly limit Europe's fuel supply. With no end in sight for the pension protest strikes, it is unclear when regular shipments from the refineries and depot will resume.
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