France: Russian diesel embargo maintains pressure on prices at pump

The new ban decided by the European Union risks having an inflationary effect at the pump, but professionals assure that it has already been widely anticipated in current prices, while a third of diesel imported into the ‘Hexagon came from Russia before the war in Ukraine.

by Adrien Pécout

Will France still manage to stock up on its diesel needs in the coming months? And, above all, at what price? The concern is in size for motorists in the country, where the diesel engine (approximately 55 % of the fleet in circulation) still dominates petrol. And concern will grow, Sunday, February 5, date from the start of the European Union’s embargo (EU) on refined petroleum products from Russia, two months after the entry into force of that on crude oil .

While the government has replaced, since January, a systematic fuel discount for all by compensation of 100 euros per year for the most modest, prices at the pump have already returned to considerable heights: 1.94 euros The liter of diesel on average on the week of January 27. The peak in the matter remains that of March 2022 (2.14 euros per liter); The month of June would have, certainly, exceeded without the government discount of 18 cents per liter.

The most notable shock would have already occurred, affirm the employers’ organizations of the petroleum industry. Because the war in Ukraine made uncertain, as soon as it started, in February 2022, the routing of Russian deliveries. In 2021, around 9 % of gross imports in France, and 30 % of those in diesel. “The embargo on Russian diesel has more impact in France than that on crude oil, but this impact is already anticipated in diesel prices for several months,” said Jean-Nicolas Fiatte, Director General of the Professional Committee of the Professional Committee of oil.

distant contracts

On the European scale, “from March 2022, the quotes of diesel in Rotterdam [in the Netherlands, the reference index] increased more than those in crude [the price of the sea brent of the sea of ​​the sea of North] “, observes Olivier Gantois, President of the French Union of Petroleum Industries (UFIP). So that the gross refining margin – the difference between the value of the refined product compared to the initial value of crude – has passed from simple … to more than septuple: 101 euros per ton in 2022, against 14 euros in 2021, according to The figures compiled by the Ufip.

But prices could further increase, according to Andrew Wilson, analysis manager for the French maritime broker BRS. A question of logistical flows. “Europe will have to seek fuel further, which involves paying higher shipping costs, and this will depend a lot on the cost of replacement barrels,” said the analyst. Instead of Russian ships crossing the Baltic, boats of a higher tonnage could come from North America, the Middle East, India, even China.

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/Media reports cited above.