Friday, 17 August, 2018

French minister slams 'illegal' oil refinery blockades

French Farmers Plan to Blockade Total Refineries and Fuel Depots French farmers block refineries over palm oil imports - The Jakarta Post
Frank Williams | 13 June, 2018, 20:27

Farmers are concerned about the impact on locally produced oilseed crops, further souring relations between the EU's biggest agricultural sector and the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

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.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, French farmers had blocked access to oil depots and at least three refineries using tonnes of onions, wood and rubble on June 11.

It urged clients not to rush to petrol stations to fill their tanks, which could spark panic buying and shortages.

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

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.

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The number of French farms decreased by 7 percent previous year and their bankruptcies rose by the proportion in France as a whole despite economy growth, according to the national statistical institute INSEE.

He also denied the possibility of reverting the authorization given to Total to import palm oil, although he agreed to receive the guild representatives tomorrow.

"This proposal is a betrayal of promises made by the French Government, and others in Europe, to the people of Malaysia", they said in a statement sent by Faces of Palm Oil lobby group.

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

Junior ecology minister Sebastien Lecornu also confirmed France would propose a decision be taken at European Union level to cap and progressively cut palm oil imports, Lambert said.

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