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Strikes extended further at all four French LNG import terminals: operators


Operations at all four of France’s four LNG import terminals continue to be impacted by strikes after workers moved to extend their action in protest at French pension reform.

The strikes at three terminals operated by France’s Elengy — Montoir-de-Bretagne, Fos Cavaou and Fos Tonkin — have now been extended by a further week until March 21, a company spokesperson said March 15.

The terminals ceased operations on March 6 due to the strike action, which had been due to end on March 14 before unions decided to extend it.

“Elengy LNG’s three terminals — Montoir-de-Bretagne, Fos Cavaou and Fos Tonkin — remain blocked,” the Elengy spokesperson said. “The strike has been extended to March 21.”

There has been no cargo unloading or tank filling, as well as no gas sendout into the French grid, during the strike period.

Strike action also continues to impact operations at France’s fourth LNG terminal at Dunkerque.

The strike, which began early March 7, was initially expected to last only 48 hours but has now been extended to March 17, Dunkerque LNG said in a market transparency notice.

“The delivery capacity is reduced to the minimum delivery,” it said, adding that both the jetty and truck loading bay remained unavailable.

Union warning
The French FNME-CGT union said March 14 that strikes were also impacting other parts of the gas sector.

“The entire gas sector is under control of striking workers who continue to block LNG terminals, gas storage sites and compressor stations,” it said.

“The risk of gas shortages is becoming bigger with each day,” it said.

The French PEG day-ahead gas price was at a premium to its TTF equivalent March 14, according to Platts price assessments by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

The PEG day-ahead price was assessed March 14 at Eur45.60/MWh, compared with a TTF day-ahead price of Eur45.50/MWh.

France’s significant LNG import capacity had seen the PEG price trade at a regular discount to the TTF through 2022.

French volumes
The four French terminals have a nominal LNG import capacity of close to 26 million mt/year (36 Bcm/year), though technical debottlenecking at the Fos Cavaou terminal has made extra capacity available.

France was the biggest LNG importer in the EU in 2022, according to S&P Global data, with imports totaling 26.09 million mt — showing the terminals were all operating at capacity last year.

Spain was the next biggest EU LNG importer last year, with a total of 21.51 million mt landed, the data showed.

So far in 2023, France remains the EU’s biggest LNG importer with deliveries of some 5 million mt followed by Spain with 3.39 million mt.

France is to have a fifth LNG import terminal — a 4.3 Bcm/year floating facility at the northern port of Le Havre — from September, pushing French LNG import capacity past 40 Bcm/year.

Source: Platts

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