France's CIM's Storage Tanks Brimming on Low Oil Demand

PARIS (Reuters) - Oil tanks at France's storage and dispatch services company CIM are completely full due to the glut in global oil supply and the sharp drop in products demand, the director general of the company said.

(photo: CIM-CCMP Group)

CIM, which handles around 40% of France's crude imports, has 3 million cubic meters of crude storage capacity and 1.7 million cubic metres of refined products storage capacity, mostly at the Le Havre oil port hub.

The firm also operates the 4,700 km Trapil pipeline network.

"There is no demand, our tanks are full to the brim," CIM's Olivier Peyrin told Reuters.

Measures put in place by governments to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak have led to a sharp drop in fuel demand globally.

"Petrol demand has fallen by around 80% (in France), while jet fuel demand has tumbled by around 95%," Peyrin said, with air traffic at France's two major airports Orly and Charles De Gaulle, close to a standstill.

"I've never witnessed a crisis like this," said Peyrin, who worked for oil major Shell before joining CIM in 2010.

"Before the crisis, we generally used to receive around 2 million tonnes of crude per month. Today we are at about 1 million tonnes," he said. "For refined products, we use to handle 500,000 tonnes per month, now we are falling towards zero."

Peyrin said only one of three oil refineries supplied by CIM from Le Havre, Exxon Mobil Port-Jerome Gravenchon, was still operational. Total's Gonfreville Normandy refinery has been halted following a fire, while the restart of its Grandpuits has delayed.

"We have reduced the team at Le Havre to a minimum just to receive the few deliveries we get, and expedite some refined products," Peyrin said, adding that other storages facilities in France were in a similar situation.

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