Crude oil exports from the United States to France have fallen to zero for the first time in four years, Bloomberg has reported, citing industrial action at French refineries that has now spilled into other sectors as well.
Citing tanker tracking data, the report says that no U.S. crude has been shipped over the Atlantic to France since the start of October. Flows were instead re-routed to Denmark and Italy, according to Vortexa. Refinery workers in France began striking more than three weeks ago, demanding higher wages in response to excessive inflation. Most trade unions involved in the industrial action eventually struck agreements with Exxon and TotalEnergies, but one hardline left union has continued to strike.
The strike has led to severe fuel shortages across France and has spilled over into other sectors, too, including nuclear energy, where urgent maintenance work has been delayed because of the industrial action. Refinery workers, meanwhile, were earlier this week ordered by the government to return to one fuel depot and more may be requisitioned for another one to alleviate the shortages.
Indeed, the latest update from the CGT union is that workers at two TotalEnergies sites have ended their strike, signaling a weakening momentum that could lead to the end of shortages and the resumption of U.S. oil flows to the country. Even so, returning to normal will take time: Exxon has said that the restart of its refineries in France after industrial action there ended earlier this month will take between two and three weeks. The strikes shut down some 70 percent of France’s refining capacity and led to fuel shortages in different parts of the country.
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