London — Industrial action against changes in labor legislation is spreading further across French refineries Monday, with at least five out of eight plants halting units, according to labor union sources.
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However, many of the 189 oil products depots that were blocked by demonstrators have been unblocked by police forces between Sunday and Monday, according to French newspaper Le Figaro.
"I think that some of the refineries and depots that were blocked are unblocked or will be in the coming hours and days," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told journalists on Sunday.
Total's 247,000 b/d Gonfreville refinery in Normandy has been in the process of halting its units since Friday, a source at the site said. Staff at the 219,000 b/d Donges refinery in the west of France also voted for a shutdown Friday. Total's 153,000 b/d La Mede, 109,000 b/d Feyzin and 101,000 b/d Grandpuits refineries are also in the process of shutdown, union sources said.
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No products are leaving the plants, as deliveries by truck are blocked.
Total was unavailable for comment.
Product deliveries are also currently blocked by external protesters outside ExxonMobil's 140,000 b/d Fos refinery near Marseilles, but operations on the site continue. ExxonMobil's 235,000 b/d Port Jerome-Gravenchon refinery in Normandy has not been affected by the strike either, and loadings have been ongoing since Friday afternoon, the company said. Previously loadings had also been blocked by protests outside.
Separately, operations at Petroineos' 210,000 b/d Lavera refinery near Marseilles in the south have also been affected by the strike, a union source said.
The refinery declined to comment on the status of operations.
The nearby Naphtachimie steam cracker, which has an ethylene capacity of 775,000 mt/year, is also halting operations, the CGT source said.
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