France is running out of petrol. One has to try hard at times to find it. France is facing a major crisis against the backdrop of sanctions against Russia.
In France, employees of TotalEnergies and Esso-ExxonMobil have been on strike for three weeks already. The strike has affected more than 60 percent of the nation's refining capacity (740,000 bpd). France was forced to increase fuel imports in the face of very expensive fuel on world markets. One has to spend a lot of time in long lines for fuel in the country. Many can not get it at all.
Bottling petrol in canisters was prohibited, but the black market is thriving. The price for one liter of petrol on the Internet reaches three euros and more, Le Parisien newspaper said.
On Wednesday, trade unions refused to comply with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne's order to return to work under the threat of fines and criminal prosecution. Workers demand higher wages against the background of inflation.
The inflation rate in France officially rose by 5.6 percent in September. The average household budget increased by 112 euros a month. At the same time, the growth in food prices amounted to 12 percent.
The reason for all that is the imposition of EU sanctions on Russian energy and fuel. France has not won any exceptions for itself at this point. Taking into account the fact that France exported fuel to the EU, the strike of oil workers also endangers the well-being of its neighbors.
The European Union is now trying to buy about 600,000 bpd of diesel fuel to replace Russian diesel ahead of its import ban in February. Yet, there is no idle refinery capacity in the world. Even the US is running out of fuel of all kinds.
Many professional drivers in France announced forced downtime. Nurses, baby-sitters and doctors cancel home visits. Enterprises of the manufacturing industry, agriculture, mining and oil and gas production experience difficulties.
Green MP Sandrine Rousseau called for a general strike.
"I hope that this (the strike at the refinery) will be the spark that will cause a general strike. The level of anger in the country is so high that I think there is a real opportunity to block and change the liberal policies pursued by the government,” Rousseau said, Bfmtv reports.
According to her, the French find the policy of Emmanuel Macron "unbearable". Macron's policy has abolished both unemployment insurance and pensions."
If the situation develops, the government of French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne may resign, but Macron does not have a parliament majority. A coalition of nationalist or leftist forces may come to the government — they are no liberals at all. They are much more realistic regarding the imposition of sanctions against Russia.
Yesterday, members of the French Cabinet of Ministers began to suspect something was wrong.
Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire criticized the United States for selling LNG four times the price that they sell it to US suppliers.
"It is out of the question that we allow the conflict in Ukraine to lead to American economic dominance and the weakening of Europe,” the minister said in parliament.
According to the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL), LNG exports from across the Atlantic to Europe reached 27 million tons in the first half of 2022 alone (21 million tons shipped in the entire 2021). Of all US exports over the same period, 70 percent of LNG was destined for Europe, up from one-third last year, Le Monde emphasizes.
Following the American sanctions policy will lead to the consumption of American wheat and American weapons. In return, Europe will have to supply its assets and brains to the US. The United States is no helper when it comes to Europe's need in fuel. Russia is the only place from where Europe can get cheap fuel in sufficient quantities.
How is Russia going to respond? Last time, an attack of this scale on the Crimean Bridge led to the beginning of the destruction of the Ukrainian energy system