Strike at Three Total Refineries in France Enters Sixth Day

Industrial action at three French refineries of Total SA (FP), the nation’s biggest oil company, entered its sixth day, as a strike at La Mede facility “remains strong” amid a pay increase dispute, a union official said.

The strike at the Gonfreville, Feyzin and La Mede refineries remains, with 20 percent of all staff participating, according to an official at Paris-based Total, who asked not to be identified citing corporate policy. The three plants have a capacity to process about 460,000 barrels of crude a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About 90 percent of staff on the 4 a.m. local time shift at La Mede were on strike, Julien Granato, a CGT union official at the site said by phone.

Europe has to shut refining capacity somewhere, and other European refineries will not mind French workers pushing themselves out of the picture,” Olivier Jakob, managing director of Zug, Switzerland-based Petromatrix GmbH, said in an e-mailed report today.

Total’s five refineries in France, including the Donges and Grandpuits facilities, have a capacity to process about 800,000 barrels a day of crude, or 60 percent of the nation’s output, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Demand for oil products in France averaged 1.76 million barrels a day in the third quarter, according to data from the International Energy Agency published on Dec. 11.

Diesel Purchases

The Donges and Grandpuits refineries are boosting production after workers there voted earlier this week to end the strike action, the Total official said in an e-mailed response to questions.

The company bought a diesel cargo and four barges of the fuel yesterday totaling almost 30,000 metric tons for delivery in the Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp oil-hub via the Platts pricing window, according to a survey of traders and brokers. It had purchased 8,500 tons the previous day.

Industrial action over pay started at the refineries on Dec. 13, the day when salary negotiations began with Total, according to CGT. The CFDT and CGC-CFE unions agreed to a pay deal with the company Dec. 16, and an acceptance of the deal by two unions was “sufficient for any agreement to be deemed valid,” Vienna-based researcher JBC Energy GmbH said yesterday.

To contact the reporters on this story: Konstantin Rozhnov in London at krozhnov@bloomberg.net; Morgane Lapeyre in London at mlapeyre@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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