Total says farmer blockade ending, 145 petrol stations ran dry

Could protesting French farmers cause fuel shortages in France

Could protesting French farmers cause fuel shortages in France

The Vatry fuel depot in the Marne region of northeastern France was the first to be blocked on Sunday evening as about 100 farmers set up barricades with tractors and mounds of rubble, a spokesman from the FNSEA farmers union told Reuters.

The palm oil authorisation has soured already-fragile relations between the European Union's biggest farm sector and the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

It said on Monday morning the blockade by farmers had not had an impact on operations.

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Farmers in France have blocked access to several oil depots and refineries in protest - that is organized to last three days - against the proposed use of imported palm oil at a Total biofuel plant. "Do not rush into oil stations, it is often that which creates the shortage".

France's main farmers' union earlier on Wednesday called on members to end the blockade, linked to anger over competition from agricultural imports including palm oil used for biofuel.

The minister called on angry protesters to sit for negotiations to reach "adequate solutions", insisting that the government would not back down on its decision to allow energy giant Total to import palm oil at a biofuel plant in La Mede, southeastern France.

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Separately, junior minister Brune Poirson, who reports to environment minister Nicolas Hulot, said on Twitter that "France wants to stop the rise in use from one year to the other" for both palm oil and soybean oil.

"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.

"Our target is the state", Lambert said, adding that Total's decision on palm oil was "the last straw".

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Widespread fuel shortages were not expected, however, given France's network of seven refineries, 200 fuel depots, emergency fuel reserves, and the absence of sympathy action by fuel sector workers.

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