France turns to oil reserves as unions blockade fuel depots

Head of France's oil industry federation says country has been using reserves, which could last for three months, for first time since 2010.

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France has been relying on its strategic fuel reserves for the past two days in the face of widespread blockades of oil depots by union activists, the head of the oil industry federation said Wednesday, reports FRANCE 24.

"For the past two days, since there have been operational problems at the refineries and blockades of depots, we have ... been using reserve supplies," Francis Duseux told French radio.

The move marked the first time since 2010 that France has had to dip into its strategic oil reserves.

"At the worst, if the situation remains very tense, we will do this for three months," Duseux said, adding that consumers had "contributed a little" to the problem because they were panic-buying.

"We are all filling our tanks as a precaution because we are afraid, and consumption has multiplied by three times or even five times in some areas," he said.

French president François Hollande sought to calm fears, saying on Wednesday that "everything will be done to ensure the supply [of petrol] for the French people and the economy".

Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.

See Mediapart's coverage of this story here.

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