From early in the morning, this Tuesday, the oil depots of Brest and Lorient were blocked by transporters, fishermen, agricultural companies, as well as professionals in public works and construction. At each of these two locations there were about 200, coming with tractors, trucks and other machines. With this action they wanted to denounce the record increases in fuel prices for two weeks.
“We’ll stay until the government gives us what we’re asking for: the domestic tax freeze on petroleum products. We defend everyone today,” explained Norbert Guillou, the Morbihan president of the National Chamber of Public Works and Landscape Crafts (CNATP).
To crystallize their anger, protesters lit tire and pallet fires at the entrances to the two depots, creating plumes of black smoke. Large numbers of gendarmes and police officers were sent to the site to prevent flooding at these sensitive sites.
Marc Lhonoré, the director of the depot in Lorient, was not too concerned: “We have secured everything, the tanks are closed and there has been no attempted break-in… The demonstrators, with whom I am in contact, know it’s a Seveso site, potentially dangerous and they are reasonable people. †
Stormed stations in Brest
Another consequence that many motorists fear: are these blockades at risk of fuel shortages in the stations? Some were taken by storm in Brest on Monday: “As soon as the news spreads, everyone rushes and we witness a movement of panic, we note at the Total Access station of the commercial port. The whole day there was a traffic jam of about twenty cars and at 6 pm the fuel was gone, no more lead from noon and we also run the risk that the diesel will run out tonight. We don’t know yet whether we will have a truck tomorrow, Total will take care of the deliveries. †
Not far from there, at the Brest depot, the receipt of a tanker truck was expected on Wednesday to replenish stocks as low as possible, even though this fuel (50 million liters of diesel) cannot be distributed in filling stations. lock is retained. The director of Stock Brest Jérôme Cussonneau explained this phenomenon by a “cautionary effect in this upward trend”.
In other cities, on the other hand, the situation remained calmer on Tuesday: “There was no frenzy in terms of consumption, according to Jean-Christophe Rigobert, the director of Leclerc de Vannes. After a quiet weekend, we have been back to work since Monday. But most customers are probably waiting for prices to drop a bit more during the week to start filling up. According to him, there is nothing wrong: “I get my stocks from different depots, they are never all blocked at the same time. »
Because in the end, according to the professionals, as is often the case in such cases, it is above all consumer behavior that runs the risk of causing temporary stock shortages: “There will only be shortages if everyone jumps at the gas stations, emphasizes Marc Lhonoré, the director of the depot from Lorient. We have enough supplies and will receive another tank of diesel this afternoon. And while you wait for the situation here to unblock, other depots can take over, such as Vern-sur-Seiche or Donges.”
In Donges, near Saint-Nazaire, there is currently no blockade and this is another news event… Indeed, production at the refinery should restart in the coming days, after 16 months of shutdown, first due to the health crisis , then to maintenance work.
Elsewhere in France, other symbolic actions were taken on Tuesday to protest rising fuel prices. In the north, at the initiative of the national coordination, a handful of tractors have been refueled in Avelin, south of Lille, to warn of the situation of farms with “bloodless money”. Finally, in the Ardèche and Haute-Loire, two gas stations have chosen to go on fuel strike because of “unjustified” price increases.