Some 28.5% – nearly one third – of gas stations in mainland France are out of stock of at least one fuel, French Energy Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told journalists Friday.
In the Parisian Ile de France region, this figure is at 25.5% Friday, down from 31.7% yesterday, she added.
A source from the office of the French prime minister on Friday blamed the long lines and exhausted stocks at French gas stations this week on panic buying, rather than just supply problems.
This is despite gas companies providing between a 30% and 50% increase in supply of gas to pumps this week, compared to a normal week, the source said.
Sources from the prime minister’s office and energy transition ministry said that, this week, demand at the gas pump had been at least 20% higher than normal.
The sources added that once strike action ended, it will take one or two weeks for refinery output and the logistical situation in France to be back to normal.
Earlier this week, the French government ordered staff at an ExxonMobil refinery in Normandy to return to work, a highly unusual step.
Meanwhile, on Friday, French energy giant TotalEnergies struck a deal with two French trade unions, CFE-CGC and the CFDT, to increase salaries for 2023.
But strike action continues at four of seven refineries in France. All of these four sites are run by TotalEnergies.
The CGT union - one of the country’s largest - refused to accept Total’s offer, with CGT Secretary of the TotalEnergies European Committee, Thierry Defresne, on Friday calling for wider industrial action on October 18.
The CGT has requested a 10% pay rise for workers.
Under the terms of the deal struck with two other unions, TotalEnergies will grant a salary increase of 7% for 2023, the company said in a press release.
The agreement includes a salary increase for all employees as well as a bonus equivalent to one month’s pay.
But the CGT union has vowed to continue striking after walking out on the negotiations with the head of the union calling on workers in other sectors to join a wider strike on Tuesday October 18.
– CNN’s Pierre Bairin and Renée Bertini in Paris also contributed to this story