Total says 3.5 percent petrol stations dry to French farmers' blockade

Total says 3.5 percent petrol stations dry to French farmers' blockade

The strikes have led to a further worsening of relations between the country's agricultural sector and President Emmanuel Macron's government.

It said on Monday morning the blockade by farmers had not had an impact on operations.

French oil and gas major Total, which operates five refineries and nine petrol depots in France, said late on Sunday that farmers have gathered at two depots and it had taken measures together with authorities, to limit disruptions.

Farmers will start blockading French refineries and fuel depots of Total SA on Sunday, to protest the company's decision to import palm oil for a biofuel refinery, Christiane Lambert, president of farmers' union FNSEA, said in an interview on Franceinfo television.

The minister called on angry protesters to sit for negotiations to reach "adequate solutions", insisting that the government would not back down on its decision to allow energy giant Total to import palm oil at a biofuel plant in La Mede, southeastern France.

Hulot had said previous year France would take steps to restrict the use of palm oil in producing biofuels in order to reduce deforestation in the countries of origin, without detailing the measures.


Environmentalists have blamed palm oil cultivation for deforestation in southeast Asia.

The mostly symbolic blockade at La Mede was lifted around midday with farmers returning to work, according to a Reuters photographer on site.

Widespread fuel shortages were not expected, however, given France's network of seven refineries, 200 fuel depots, emergency fuel reserves, and the absence of sympathy action by fuel sector workers. Palm oil is cheaper than rapeseed oil.

French rapeseed and sunflower growers, who say they will lose out due to Total's imports, accuse foreign palm oil producers of failing to respect the regulatory requirements European producers must follow.

Farmers fear that the move could negatively affect the use of locally produced oilseed crops.

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