12% of petrol stations have difficulties in supplying fuel. For the government there is no shortage. However, it drew on its strategic titles.
In Toulouse, Lille or Paris the scenes are the same: tens of meters lined up in front of the TotalEnergies service stations and very often closed stations, with no price displayed on the totem poles, due to lack of available fuel.
Since September 1, thanks to its discount of 20 cents added to the government discount of 30 cents, TotalEnergies has been showing the cheapest prices in France, all fuels combined. Cheaper than retail. A plus for motorists who rush to the TotalEnergies pump to have their locks delivered again. The strike by part of the TotalEnergies staff for a salary increase aggravates this situation.
“Tensions” but no “shortcomings”
It is out of the question to speak of a “shortage”, says government spokesman Olivier Véran. He prefers to talk about “tensions” in the fuel supply. The government says 12% of petrol stations in France have difficulty supplying at least one fuel. More than 30% of the Hauts-de-France are particularly affected, particularly around Arras and Béthune. Thus, according to Olivier Véran, the government has “drawn from strategic stocks (…) here and there” to supply the dry stations.
Mandatory strategic reserves since 2009
Like other countries, France has a strategic oil reserve (RSP): automotive and aeronautical gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, kerosene, heavy fuel oil and jet fuel (kerosene). Approximately 18 million tons corresponding to approximately 90 days of fuel consumption.
The stock is mainly managed by SAGESS (Société anonyme de gestion des stocks de sécurité). It has 80 storage sites and 8 refineries spread across France and an underground salt cave site near Manosque in the Alpes de Haute Provence. Volumes must be kept permanently. Only the state can give the order to withdraw oil and fix the quantities.
In France, it was in 1925 that we began to create the first strategic reserves. SAGESS was created in 1988. Since 2009, a European directive has imposed stocks of crude oil or petroleum products on all Member States.