The effects of the strike on several French refineries began to be felt at gas stations in some regions, which had to close due to lack of fuel, while in others the lines of drivers trying to refill their tanks multiply.
Government spokesman Oliver Véran said this Friday (7) that the tension will last “a few days”, but refused to admit that there are shortages, although he acknowledged problems with supply in some regions.
Speaking to the BFM channel, Véran said that only 15% of gas stations in the country had to put up the closed sign, a situation that is concentrated in some regions, such as Paris.
The government, which opened strategic reserves and increased imports, says that the weekend will be “difficult” in these regions, while gas station associations gasoline believe that the situation will not return to normal for about ten days, although it will gradually improve.
The source of the problem lies in the strike that has been taking place for more than a week in several refineries belonging to the TotalEnergies group, where workers are demanding a salary increase to face the price increases. They argue that the company made record profits.
The country’s main refinery, located in Normandy, where a fifth of the fuel consumed in France comes from, is one of the most affected by the strikes. Speaking from Prague, French President Emmanuel Macron urged citizens to calm down.
“In the face of shortages, there were panic movements and many of our compatriots rushed to gas stations to fill up, as a precaution. However, this attitude accelerates the effect of panic”, he commented.
At the same time, there was an increase in demand at TotalEnergies stations due to the discount of 20 cents per liter applied by the company, in addition to the discount of 30 cents per liter from the government. This has led to an increase in the number of drivers who have visited the gas stations in recent days.
In addition, many French drivers try to fill their tanks these days because from next month the government discount will be 10 cents, and the TotalEnergies discount will be 20 cents.
The oil group, which also refuses to acknowledge the shortage , admits that there are “supply problems” at some stations, especially in the interior of the country, which he plans to solve gradually.