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21 Mar, 2023 16:30

France tapping into strategic fuel reserves – Reuters

The move reportedly comes amid continued strikes over pension reforms
France tapping into strategic fuel reserves – Reuters

France’s Energy Ministry has revealed that strategic national reserves of fuel have been utilized “in a targeted manner” since the beginning of March. According to a Reuters report on Tuesday, the ministry did not provide details of any shortages, citing confidentiality. 

The ministry highlighted that supply problems have been building in some southern regions while several refineries were still blocked from delivering products after two weeks of strikes. Workers protesting proposed changes in the French pension system have disrupted fuel deliveries and refining operations, it said.

According to the report, the Normandy refinery operated by oil giant TotalEnergies will be shut down on Tuesday because of a strike. A company spokesperson told Reuters that production at other sites operated by the firm remained unchanged. The spokesperson specified that around 36% of operational staff at TotalEnergies’ refineries and depots were on strike on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, power capacity in France has reportedly been reduced by 15.6 gigawatts (GW) as a result of strike disruptions at nuclear, thermal, and hydropower plants. Official data shows that the country did not stop exporting power to neighbors, in a sign that domestic supply was enough to meet demand.

Strikes by industrial workers in France are part of a nationwide movement against government plans to increase the retirement age by two years to 64. The divisive bill was forced through parliament without a vote.

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