French Refinery Disruptions Get Worse.

Four out of France’s six refineries, a total of 883,000 b/d of refining capacity, are poised to halt operations this week as nationwide protests against President Macron’s decision to increase the retirement age to 64 years spiral out of control, OilPrice said. 

As French strikes are moving into their third week and at least four refineries are winding down operations due to blocked ports and overflowing stocks, Europe’s diesel woes are making a counter-seasonal comeback. 

French refining, recording 990,000 b/d in the last reported month of January 2023, is heavily geared towards diesel, but cannot meet the country’s hefty 850,000 b/d demand for the product. 

Consequently, the spread between the prompt and second month of Europe’s diesel benchmark contract, the ICE low-sulfur diesel, rose to a premium of $35 per barrel, the highest since November 2022. 

France might be the epicenter of the diesel squeeze because the blockage of import terminals across the country is limiting diesel importers from buying products, with diesel imports falling 50% this month compared to February. 

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