On Friday, TotalÉnergie announced in the Journal du Dimanche that it intended to apply from September 1 a discount of 20 cents at pumps in the overseas departments, the same as in mainland France.
A cry from service station managers
Immediately there was an outcry from the service station operators’ union (SRESS). Its new president, Thierry Legros, declares himself against it, unless this bonus is applied at all service stations.
We learn a little more about it in the Quotidien de la bouche by Florian Cousineau, the director of the SRPP, according to which “other oil companies, such as Engen, Ola or Vito, will find it difficult to align with Total“.
According to Thierry Legros, at the JIR, “Total can afford this kind of initiative. Drills, refines and distributes fuels. has the means to do it“. Implying that the others would not have them.
It is, forgive me for being so crude, to make fun of the people of Reunion. Oil companies, both small and large, have been gorging themselves in recent years, especially since the start of the crisis that followed the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Let’s take the example of TotalEnergies. The oil company, supposedly French but that does not pay taxes in France, obtained a profit of 16,000 million dollars in 2021, 4,900 million in the 1st quarter of 2022 and 5,700 million in the 2nd. That’s almost triple what it was last year in the same period.
And of these 16,000 million from last year, half, about 8,000 million, will be redistributed among the shareholders of the oil company.
And this is just one example. All the other companies, I mean all of them, have seen their profits explode. Le Monde gives the examples of ExxonMobil and Shell, with 23,000 million and 20,100 million dollars in profits respectively. But also Chevron (15.6 billion) and BP (7.6 billion)…
Oil companies, including Engen, Ola or Vito, therefore have the means to allocate this discount of 20 cents.
TotalÉnergies distributes crumbs
Faced with these record and immodest profits, TotalEnergie practices a policy of small gifts. Knowing that Total sells 10 billion liters of fuel per year in France, a simple rule of thumb makes it possible to assess the cost of the discount granted at 500 million euros. To be compared to the 16 billion in profits last year…
Same problem in mainland France
Faced with this, those responsible for the service stations, instead of fighting against the oil tankers, prefer to do so to deprive the Reunionese of this bonus of 20 cents. They always put on the table the same argument about the risk of closing service stations.
The problem is that this risk is not specific to Réunion. Francis Pousse, president of the service stations and new energies branch of Mobilians, which represents 5,800 service stations in France, explains to France Info that the problem is exactly the same in mainland France.
“Total is a French brand and controls the entire chain, it imports oil, refines oil, distributes oil. The others present in the French sector, for example Esso or BP (which made a profit of 7.6 billion, editor’s note), are wholesalers who have no means of making this discount of 20 cents. These gas stations, often in rural areas, buy from a market where this additional 20-cent discount will not be present.
Total negotiated this gesture with the government. The problem is the others. We have been fighting for several years to save commuter stations in particular and this is a serious blow because for 4 months, and we cannot blame consumers for this, sales will be at half-staff.
We are going to have points of sale closing with obvious job losses, but above all with a problem of access to energy“
1,700 jobs threatened in Réunion
It is understood that the problem will arise in more acute terms in Réunion due to the agreed price system established, with the trade-off of maintaining the jobs of the pump attendants, while on the mainland the pumps are usually free. The managers, therefore, do not have to bear the salaries of the assistants.
The figure of 1,700 jobs that could be lost is often announced by station managers without us having the means to verify it.
But who will risk going to explain to the Reunionese that those responsible for the service stations, who obviously have no mercy for the large cars in which they drive, are going to go on strike, or even block the SRPP depot in the Port . as was the case last February, to deprive motorists of a discount of 20 cents per liter of fuel? That is, for a 50 liter tank, a loss of 10 euros per tank!
I wish you good luck!
So what solution?
Let’s listen to Francis Pousse, representative of 5,800 service station managers in France, on France Info:
“I think so, legally, it is difficult to mount (specific help for non-Total brand stations, editor’s note). Without a doubt, this is an opportunity to put on the table again a file that we have been demanding for several years, such as the reestablishment of a structural aid fund for service stations to help them diversify towards new energies. We will need electricity, in particular fast terminals everywhere. It is not only on the road where you need to be able to recharge your car in the shortest possible time. And then we need aid for economic modernization, like what we have done a little for tobacconists for years, to help service stations make a change in various offers, so that the entire point of sale is profitable”
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