French farmers start refinery blockade

No impact from farmers' blockade on refinery operations - Total

No impact from farmers' blockade on refinery operations - Total

French oil and gas major Total TOTF.PA said on Tuesday that 3.5 percent of its petrol stations in France were out of fuel on the second-day of a blockade of refineries and fuel depots by farmers that has disrupted distribution.

It said on Monday morning the blockade by farmers had not had an impact on operations.

According to the president of the National Federation of Agricultural Holders' Unions, Christiane Lambert, 13 sites will be blocked early Monday following five that were blocked on Sunday.

The move came after the French energy giant Total made a decision to use a cheaper, imported palm oil at its biofuel plant.

"Our target is the state", FNSEA's Lambert said, adding Total's decision on palm oil was "the last straw".

Environmentalists have blamed palm oil cultivation for deforestation in southeast Asia.


The number of French farms decreased by 7 percent past year and their bankruptcies rose by the proportion in France as a whole despite economy growth, according to the national statistical institute INSEE.

Fuel shortages were not expected as a result of the blockade, given France's network of emergency fuel reserves and in the absence of sympathy action by fuel sector workers.

"I want Total and biofuel producers to reach an agreement on a base price and a contract that will benefit rapeseed producers", Travert said, adding there was no risk of a shortage of petrol due to the movement. Rapeseed and sunflower oil, animal fat, used cooking oil, and residues, also will be used at the refinery.

"We will commit at European Union level to cap, to freeze. based on the total 2017 volumes, the volume of imported (palm) oil to reduce it gradually in the coming years", French junior ecology minister Sebastien Lecornu said on Europe 1 radio.

The issue of palm oil use has caused friction with Indonesia and Malaysia, the two largest palm oil producers, with Malaysian officials warning of trade repercussions that could affect a potential deal to buy French fighter jets.

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