0825 GMT December 03, 2022
Deliveries at the 240,000 barrel per day (bpd) Gonfreville refinery in Normandy have stopped and it is in the process of being shutdown, said the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) union delegate Thierry Defresne, Reuters reported.
TotalEnergies and trade union CGT said that strikes were also under way at the La Mede, Feyzin and Flanders refineries.
The shutdowns will further strain the supply of refined products in France, with more 60% of refining capacity – or 740,000 bpd – now offline, Reuters calculations show.
"The objective of the strike is not disruption, but to obtain a negotiation on wage measures compensating for inflation," Defresne told Reuters.
It is possible the strikes will continue past Friday, he added.
The industrial action started on Tuesday and was initially planned to last 72 hours.
"It is the unplanned stuff that really gets prices moving, with diesel stocks having made no summer gains," said OilX senior oil analyst Neil Crosby.
"The wave of strikes in France took the market by surprise and there is uncertainty about its duration."
A TotalEnergies spokesperson said that measures had been taken to maintain normal supplies to customers, including increased imports.
However, France's largest sugar maker Tereos on Thursday said it had to slow output slightly at some factories and TotalEnergies had said the strikes would prevent it from supplying diesel fuel until the end of the week.
Two Exxon Mobil refineries have also faced walkouts and disruptions.
The refiner has been forced to limit product supply to its customers within the terms of its contracts, a company spokesperson told Reuters on Wednesday.
Its 240,000 barrel per day (bpd) Port Jerome-Gravenchon oil refinery, the Notre Dame de Gravenchon petrochemicals site and the 140,000 bpd Fos-Sur-Mer refinery were shut down last week.
Outages in France's refining sector are creating a level of uncertainty in refined oil trade amid a heavy oil refinery turnaround season in Europe this autumn.