Fuel shortage: why is the situation still tense in certain regions?

Fuel shortage: why is the situation still tense in certain regions?

Although the situation is improving at the national level (21.9% of gas stations sold out this Wednesday), some regions are still experiencing tensions due to the greater complexity of supplies.

A new proof that geographical areas are not all housed in the same boat in the face of fuel shortages. At the beginning of the social movement, Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est and then Île-de-France seemed to be the most exposed French regions, with about one in two service stations running out of at least one fuel in the voltage. peak.

As of today, the situation shows a marked improvement in recent days with less than 21.9% of service stations under pressure this Wednesday. But now it is other French regions that are in a particularly tense situation. This is particularly the case in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Occitanie and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, as shown on the map below.

Strong dependence on rail transport

“Once the refinery employees go back to work, the difficulty is supplying the 200 tanks in France,” recalls Francis Pousse, president of the service stations and new energies branch of the Mobilians professional union. However, not all regions are served by the same means of transport. With respective stress rates of around 37% and almost 24%, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Occitanie are among the few French regions that rely heavily on rail supply.

“However, certain train loadings taking place at refineries have recently been blocked and only partially resumed on a targeted basis,” explains Olivier Gantois.

The president of the French Union of Petroleum Industries (UFIP) also mentions the unusual influx of customers to gas stations, fearful of running out of fuel, which did not help the situation. And the logistical problem does not stop there since the trains also run on certain specific days, when the supply of the pipeline can work almost without interruption.

Less efficient relays

There are alternative solutions, such as trucks, but this mode of transport also suffers from problems, first in terms of quantity. “A train can carry 1,000 to 1,500 tons of fuel, while a truck is limited to about 35 tons,” says Olivier Gantois. Trucks have even more limited refueling capacity as they have to travel longer distances to refuel service stations in these regions.

“Normally, a truck delivers 3 to 4 service stations per day, but today it is more like one per day because it has many more trips to make,” underlines Francis Pousse, who also mentions the phenomenon of fuel depot congestion.

The president of the branch of service stations and new energies of the Mobilians professional union reiterates the forecasts he made on the microphone of BFMTV last week: “We will have to wait between 15 and 20 days for a real normalization, that is, a situation where all gas stations are supplied with their usual average stocks”.

Different levers depending on the region.

But then, how to explain the significant improvement in the situation in the most affected regions at the beginning of October? The stress rate had reached 55% in Hauts-de-France but it is only 16.6% this Wednesday.

In the Great East, 22.6% of gas stations show a shortage of at least one fuel compared to 31% on Monday. Even if a third of the Ile-de-France sites are currently affected, the Paris region still had a rate above 40% at the beginning of the week. For each of these geographic areas, different factors led to an alleviation of the situation at the service stations.

In the north of the country, the requisition of the Mardyck deposit, near Dunkirk, was decisive. Ile-de-France, meanwhile, benefited from the restart of Esso-ExxonMobil’s Normandy refinery but also from the return of pipeline supply from Hauts-de-France. On the German border, the origin of the problem was more natural. “Les eaux du Rhin sont capricieuses et peuvent empêcher les barges de circuler si leur niveau est trop elevé ou trop bas, précise Olivier Gantois. In reality, there is a lack of appropriation ahead of the debut of the social movement in September.”

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