May 2, 2022 [energy.economictimes.indiatimes] – French oil major TotalEnergies began the process of restarting the 231,000 barrel per day (bpd) Donges oil refinery in France on April 26, after the plant was taken offline in December 2020.
The restarting process should last two weeks, TotalEnergies said on its website.
TotalEnergies halted the refinery for economic reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused demand for oil products to plummet and a sharp deterioration in margins for refineries converting crude oil into products.
European refinery margins have increased rapidly alongside the post-pandemic demand recovery and as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raised supply concerns.
Diesel margins hit an all-time high immediately after the start of the invasion on Feb. 24, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.
Europe, which is heavily reliant on Russian diesel, has been increasing imports of the fuel from other regions such as the Middle East and Asia.
European Union sanctions have so far avoided targeting oil from Russia, its biggest supplier, but many traders and refiners have opted to reduce purchases of Russian crude and refined products to avoid falling foul of sanctions on Russia’s financial system and also to avoid any reputational damage.
Strike action by the CGT union at the end of March delayed the restart of Donges, which according to TotalEnergies supplies 17 per cent of French fuel consumption.
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