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French refining feels the squeeze

Tougher economics could spark another rationalisation in the sector

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen European refining margins turn negative for the first time since the IEA began tracking them in 2006. After milder conditions in the second half of the 2010s, France’s refining sector could again see casualties such as it experienced in the 2009-12 period. Back then, a third of the country’s 12 existing facilities stopped refining, although infrastructure was mostly repurposed as product storage. Closure of the Mardyck, Reichstett, Berre L’Etang and Petit Couronne plants removed a combined capacity of almost 400,000bl/d. European refineries, including those in France, have since benefitted from sustained lower crude prices post-2014, robust glob

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