Many French people do not refuel their cars with serenity despite the fact that the authorities have indicated that there are no supply problems.
The ongoing strikes at TotalEnergies' six refineries in France and the petroleum group's fuel price policy that has attracted throngs of customers to its gas stations are causing supply issues, which in turn has sparked fears of a major fuel shortage in France even if the energy operators want to be reassuring.
"We do not see a shortage coming due to the import flows, which have considerably increased, in particular diesel imports," the President of the French Association of Petroleum Industry (UFIP) Olivier Gantois said, adding that "from time to time, there is an isolated problem. But I can guarantee you that when we look at the national territory as a whole, there is no shortage."
However, many French people do not refuel their cars with serenity. The anxiety-inducing context of the energy crisis, the supply difficulties observed at several service stations across the country, and the labor action at six of TotalEnergies' eight French refineries have all helped raise the specter of a fuel shortage.
Nearly half of the gas stations operated by TotalEnergies in and around Paris no longer sell either petrol or diesel due to the supply crunch TotalEnergies stations have been taken by storm since the introduction of a rebate of 20 eurocents per liter of fuel on top of the 30-eurocent rebate granted by the French government.
France ���� Arras, files de véhicules attendant devant une station-service ⛽️— RASEK �� (@rasekrasek) October 7, 2022
La police ��♀️ vérifie la réserve des automobilistes - ceux qui ont plus de la moitié du réservoir doivent faire demi-tour.#Veran est un menteur #penurie #essence #carburants pic.twitter.com/eMUTnmg8UV
The tweet reads, "France, Arras: queues of vehicles waiting in front of a gas station. Police check drivers' tank: those who have more than half the tank must back up. Veran is a liar."
The number of customers refueling at TotalEnergies stations has increased by around 30 percent since Sept. 1. The company has already asked its customers not to rush to its stations as the rebate remains in force until the end of this year.
The strike action that began on Sept. 27 has affected fuel supplies across the country. The refinery in Normandy, which represents 22 percent of the country's total refining capacity, is "at a standstill," according to the General Confederation of Labour (CGT).
According to a statement issued earlier this week by the unionists, there was no drop of petroleum products leaving the Feyzin refinery, which undermined the supply of service stations that are already very disrupted.
The CGT is calling for a "salary catch-up" of 10 percent for the year 2022 in order to cope with high inflation. TotalEnergies argues that an average increase of 3.5 percent was granted at the start of the year and that negotiations are already scheduled for November.
#EUROPE is facing the worst gas supply crisis in its history, with energy prices soaring and German importers even discussing possible rationing in the EU's largest economy as #Russian says the US is behind Europe's gas supply crisis. pic.twitter.com/odEgMkoegA— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) September 7, 2022