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Strike halts Total's Feyzin in France, steam cracker at reduced runs

London — France's Feyzin refinery is in the process of halting units and the steam cracker is running at reduced rates, Total said Wednesday.

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Local media reported earlier that the refinery has been halting operations since Monday due to a strike.

The company said it regrets the decision by labor unions to call a strike while discussions are ongoing with refinery staff about a planned indefinite closure of a unit due to lower product demand.

Feyzin is considering mothballing a visbreaker unit around 2021 as demand for heavy fuel is gradually declining and the unit currently works on average no more than three days per month. As a result of closing the position of a unit operator, seven people would lose their jobs, but would be offered different jobs within the organization, the company said.

But the strike has been called before the process of consultation with staff has been concluded, Total said, adding that the refinery hopes the talks will resume, since there would be no job losses as a result of the project.

Traders said they were currently uncertain about the market impact of the refinery's temporary closure due to the strike. Some dismissed any immediate impact, but others indicated that product availability would decrease.

--Elza Turner, elza.turner@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Fox, jonathan.fox@spglobal.com