Monday, 22 October, 2018

Farmers block oil refineries and depots across France

View of the entrance at the Total refinery in La Mede France 23 February 2010 View of the entrance at the Total refinery in La Mede France 23 February 2010
Cary Marshall | 13 June, 2018, 17:26

According to the president of the National Federation of Agricultural Holders' Unions, Christiane Lambert, 13 sites will be blocked early Monday following five that were blocked on Sunday.

The French authorities last month gave oil and gas major Total permission to use palm oil as one of the feedstocks at its La Mede biofuel refinery, in southern France, infuriating farmers who grow local oilseed crops like rapeseed and environmentalists who blame palm oil cultivation for deforestation in southeast Asia.

French junior ecology minister said on June 11, as farmers blocked refineries across the country in protest against use of the vegetable oil in biofuels, that France will commit at European Union level to freeze the use of palm oil.

Farm Minister Stephane Travert pushed back against the farmers, stating that the blockades were illegal and will be futile as the government's decision to allow Total's importation of palm oil will remain in effect.

Many farmers welcomed the president's call for fairer farmgate prices as part of a food chain review past year.

Total said on Tuesday 3.5 percent of its petrol stations in France had run out of fuel on the second day of the blockade disrupted distribution.

No impact from farmers' blockade on refinery operations - Total

The farmers' protests began late Sunday and have been called for three days because "dialogue has broken down" with the government, Greffon said.

Total's decision was "the last straw", she said in an interview with Franceinfo television.

Fuel shortages were not expected as a result of the blockade, given France's network of emergency fuel reserves and in the absence to date of sympathy action by fuel sector workers.

According to Deutsche Welle, they are also anxious about emerging competition, as local biofuel producers might want to go over to a cheaper palm oil from overseas instead of buying locally produced and more expensive rapeseed oil.

Palm oil is cheaper than rapeseed oil as a feedstock for biodiesel.

Contrastingly, Malaysian officials have warned of possible trade repercussions that could affect a French fighter jet deal.

More news: No More Nuclear Threat from North Korea

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