French minister slams 'illegal' oil refinery blockades

Rodiano Bonacci
Giugno 13, 2018

French farmers have reportedly blocked oil depots and refineries as part of a three-day protest campaign against palm oil imports, Reuters reported.

Christiane Lambert, President of France's farmer's union group FNSEA, talks to journalists as she stands on a tractor during a protest by French farmers to block the French oil giant Total refinery in Donges, France, June 11, 2018.

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

"We have worked a lot but we did not get enough.

We're going to ask our members to suspend with immediate effect their blockade of the different sites", Jeremy Decerle, leader of the FNSEA's youth-wing, told reporters. This blockade is illegal.

Lambert said the blockades were meant to pressure the French government over recent trade agreements that would allow imports of meat, sugar, and ethanol from countries "that do not respect the same conditions of production as French products". "It is not by blocking refineries that we are going to find adequate solutions", Travert told RTL Radio. "It concerns South American meat and Spanish wine as well as palm oil", said Damien Greffon, who leads the FRSEA farmers' union in the Paris region.

No impact from farmers' blockade on refinery operations - Total
French farmers start refinery blockade over palm oil imports

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.

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

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.

Palm oil has been criticised in Europe for environmental destruction and some lawmakers are pushing for a ban on its use in biofuel as part of new European Union energy targets.

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

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