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Fuel shortages in northern France, what about Belgium?

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Some 12% of stations in France are experiencing “difficulties with at least one type of fuel” at the pump, with varying situations depending on the region.

TotalEnergies, contacted, did not confirm the number of its stations that lack gasoline. But AFP found that many stations, of various brands, were empty on Wednesday in the north of France and that several others were taken by storm. The problems are explained by a strike movement for wages within TotalEnergies, but also, according to the group, by “the fall in prices” in its stations – a discount at the pump of 20 euro cents per liter which resulted in “a significant influx”, since the fuels are cheaper there.

In the center of Lille, several TotalEnergies stations were closed for lack of fuel and in an Esso station in the city center, an hour of waiting was necessary to get supplies. “We are coming from Amsterdam to go to Paris, we have been looking for gasoline for 1h30, this is our fourth station”, explained Sofiane Ladjmi, who is traveling with her brother, worried about being “late for lessons”. .

The government spokesman challenged the term “shortage” of fuel, preferring to refer to “tensions” in the supply of some of them, and calling on motorists to avoid “the panic effect”.

A little earlier in the day, the LR president of the Hauts-de-France region, Xavier Bertrand, was alarmed by the situation, in a letter to the government: “Drivers are encountering more and more difficulty in finding stations, sometimes even in territories very far from the depots”, he underlined, referring to “situations of shortage or long wait” in his region.

“I call on the government to quickly remedy this situation so that essential public services, such as school and road transport, can circulate,” he wrote.

Haro on jerry cans

The prefect of Pas-de-Calais announced on Wednesday the ban on the sale and purchase of fuel “in manually transportable containers”, calling on residents to “show civility and solidarity”. According to him, the situation is particularly difficult in the areas around Arras and Béthune.

The group promised on Tuesday “to mobilize to resupply the network thanks to additional logistical means”. “There is no shortage of fuel because TotalEnergies has built up stocks and is currently importing regularly,” he said.

While some TotalEnergies sites have stopped the movement, it was renewed on Wednesday in the Normandy refinery, near Le Havre, the largest in France, which alone accounts for 22% of refining in the country.

The movement was also extended to the “bio-refinery” of La Mède (Bouches-du-Rhône), and to the fuel depot of Flandres, near Dunkirk, “strongly mobilized”, according to Pedro Afonso, elected CGT at the refinery of Feyzin (Rhône), whose union is calling for a salary increase of 10% for the year 2022.

In this refinery, he acknowledged that there were “stronger teams, weaker teams”, in terms of mobilization, from shift to shift, but assured that the fuel shipments department was at “ 100% strikers” Wednesday morning.

“Everything is put on the table” to ensure that tensions “are resolved”, assured Mr. Veran, who indicated that the State had been brought “here and there, when necessary”, to ” draw on strategic stocks to supply stations”.

The strike also continues for wages in the two French refineries of the Esso-ExxonMobil group, in Seine-Maritime and in the Bouches-du-Rhône, according to Christophe Aubert, CGT coordinator of the group, who indicates that the two sites “still at total stop”.