Fos-Lavera strikes in France could affect nearby refineries

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Oct. 8 -- Labor strikes in France called for by the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) trade unions, which began Sept. 27 at the Marseille Fos and Lavera terminals, are now entering their 12th day and will likely affect nearby refineries.

Currently there are 51 vessels held up in the two ports including 3 barges, 3 chemical carriers, 8 crude tankers, 15 products tankers, and 9 propane-butane carriers. In addition, 5 crude tankers and two butane-propane carriers are farther offshore for safety reasons.

The strikers were protesting the privatization of the ports’ operations fearing for their jobs despite guarantees offered by the Marseille Port authorities. Now they have joined with protesters throughout France against the new law extending retirement age to 62 from 60. All unions have called for widespread strikes on Oct. 12 and beyond.

Consequently, the Fos and Lavera strikers have called on refineries in the area to begin an extended strike starting Oct. 12, so there seems little chance that they will interrupt their movement between now and then. Total SA’s CGT has called for a strike at all Total’s refineries starting Oct. 12.

Refineries run by Total, Esso, Lyondell Basel, Arkema, and Ineos have been supplying their markets by truck and pipeline. These refineries also include Petroplus’ facility in Switzerland and Reischstett near Germany, as well as Total’s refinery at Feyzin in the Rhone Valley.

Total said it has been slowing its operations since last week in order to avoid a costly shut down when reserves have been exhausted.

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