October 25, 2010 / 12:32 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-France begins to import gasoline as strike bites

* At least 2 cargoes confirmed carrying gasoline

* France is normally a gasoline exporter

(Adds details)

PARIS, Oct 25 (Reuters) - A vessel has unloaded gasoline at a port in northern France in a rare import of the fuel to the country and another ship is scheduled to deliver more, industry sources said on Monday, amid supply shortage due to prolonged strikes in the oil sector.

The MT Ledastern came from Britain to offload 11,000 cubic metres of gasoline — roughly about 25,000-30,000 tonnes — at Rouen on Saturday, one shipping source said on Monday.

Another gasoline vessel is due to arrive at the same port on Wednesday, the fuel unit of supermarket group Casino (CASP.PA) said on Monday.

The vessel would bring about 20,000 cubic metres of gasoline, said Alfred Soto, head of Distridyn.

“We are trying to do as much as we can for gasoline to supply Normandy and Ile-de-France (the Paris region), which are facing a severe lack of gasoline,” Soto told Reuters by telephone.

The Normandy region around Rouen has been one of the most affected by shortages at petrol stations due to the strike at French refineries, which started in mid-October against the pension reform plans, and in combination with the oil hub Fos-Lavera port in southern France.

On Monday, all the 12 refineries were on strike and seven of them voted to continue the action. The remaining five are due to vote later in the day. [ID:nLDE69O0MZ] [ID:nLDE69H1EP]

France is typically an exporter of gasoline and many European countries are diesel importer. (Reporting by Mathilde Cru and Valerie Parent; writing by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Ikuko Kurahone in London)

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