First Crude Cargo in A Week Docks at French Port

Credit: alexander-schimmeck-unsplash

A crude tanker has docked at the French Atlantic port of Le Havre for the first time in a week, raising hopes that the two refineries served by the terminal may get their hands on some feedstock to resume operations, reports Argus Media.

Crude tanker

Although dockers at Le Havre plan to remain on strike until 19:00 local time (17:00 GMT) on 30 March as part of wider protests against the government’s pension reforms, now in their fourth week, Argus tracking shows a vessel carrying 1mn bl of Saudi Arabian Arab Light has arrived at the berth of the port’s crude terminal, having sat at anchor offshore since 8 March. It is unclear how quickly it will discharge, but when it does it will be the first crude cargo to unload at Le Havre since 20 March.

The two refineries served by the port, TotalEnergies’ 246,900 b/d Gonfreville and ExxonMobil’s 236,000 b/d Port Jerome, have both had to shut. “We have no crude,” a Port Jerome worker said today. Worker requisitions to release fuel stocks are continuing at Gonfreville though.

Several crude cargoes heading to Le Havre changed destination in the wake of the refinery shutdowns. A shipment of around 1mn bl of Nigerian Odudu is now offshore Rotterdam and around 600,000 bl of Libyan Brega has moved to anchorage offshore the French port of Montoir. Cargoes from the UAE and Norway have also diverted to Rotterdam.

A backlog of crude tankers at France’s other main oil terminal, the Mediterranean port complex of Fos-Lavera, continues to grow. Dockers there are on strike until 31 March. Fos-Lavera serves four refineries — UK-Chinese venture Petroineos’ 207,100 b/d Lavera, ExxonMobil’s 133,000 b/d Fos, TotalEnergies’ 109,300 b/d Feyzin and Varo’s 68,000 b/d Cressier refinery in Switzerland. Petroineos has halted operations at Lavera, but Fos and Feyzin continue to run, albeit at low levels.

A partially laden tanker, the Legio X Equestris, has recently arrived at Fos-Lavera with around 900,000 bl of US WTI Midland on board, taking the total amount of crude waiting to just over 10mn bl. Another 1.4mn bl of west African and Libyan crude should arrive tomorrow, while a cargo of Algerian Saharan Blend that left the port has now returned. Vessels carrying biodiesel, ethanol, biofuels feedstocks, gasoline, oxygenates and a 260,000 bl cargo of jet fuel for Nato are filling the port confines.

A snapshot of energy ministry data on service stations shows 13 out of 37 in and around Marseille in southern France missing at least one fuel. Diesel was missing in two of the service stations, compared with six running out of E10 and SP98 gasoline. Four of the stations were missing E85 gasoline and three have no LPG. The energy ministry says 7pc of French service stations are closed as a result of the refinery closures.

More widely, today has been marked by another round of national strikes and large demonstrations across France affecting railways, airports, roads, municipal sites and educational institutes. The CFDT, CGT and Force Ouvriere unions had offered to hold talks with the government over the new law to reform pension rights, which passed without a vote in the country’s parliament. But prime minister Elisabeth Borne said the government has no plans to change course.

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Source: Argus Media


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