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Total resumes operations at French refineries as worker strike ends

12.30.2013  | 

All five of Total’s refineries in France are resuming operations after employees at Gonfreville voted to return to work, the last to come back after a strike that began two weeks ago, the CGT union said.

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By KONSTANTINE ROZHNOV

PARIS (Bloomberg) -- All five of Total’s refineries in France are resuming operations after employees at Gonfreville voted to return to work, the last to come back after a strike that began two weeks ago, the CGT union said.

All facilities are resuming activity, Eric Sellini, a CGT union representative, said by phone. The 247,000 bpd refinery at Gonfreville in northern France, Total’s largest in the country, is the third site where staff have ended industrial action. Officials at Total haven’t returned two phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment on the plant’s status. European diesel traded near the highest in two months this week, boosted by the strikes, which began on December 13.

“We estimate that France will have lost about 5.1 MMbbls of distillates and 2.5 MMbbls of gasoline production during those strikes,” Olivier Jakob, managing director of Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland, said in an e-mailed report. “With the French refineries gradually coming back we expect to see the European diesel differentials give back some of their recent gains.”

Staff Votes

Staff at the La Mede refinery voted overnight to resume work, and the Feyzin site ended industrial action, according to CGT.

Total’s refineries in France also include the Donges plant, where a strike ended last weekend, and the Grandpuits facility where workers went back to work on December 17. The sites can collectively process about 800,000 bpd of crude, or 60 % of the nation’s output, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Demand for oil products in France averaged 1.76 MMbpd in the Q3, figures from the International Energy Agency published on December 11 show.

At least two unions representing Total’s refining workers, CFDT and CGC-CFE, agreed to a pay deal with the company last week. CGT, which called for the industrial action, didn’t sign the accord, pressing for further benefits.

Total’s crude-processing and petrochemicals business in France may lose as much as $690 million this year, a company official said last week, asking not to be identified, citing corporate policy.



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