On Friday, TotalÉnergie announced in the Journal du Dimanche that from September 1st it would offer a 20 cent discount at the pump in the overseas departments, just like in mainland France.
An outcry from gas station operators
There was an immediate outcry from the Service Station Operators Union (SRESS). Its brand-new president, Thierry Legros, opposes it, unless this discount applies to all petrol stations.
We learn a little more about this in the Quotidien de la bouche by Florian Cousineau, Director of the SRPP, according to which “other oil companies like Engen, Ola or Vito will have a hard time joining Total“.
According to Thierry Legros in the JIR “Total can afford this kind of initiative. It drills, refines and sells fuels. He has the means to do it“. Implied that the others would not have them.
It’s, forgive me, being rude enough to poke fun at the people of Reunion. Oil majors, both small and large, have stuffed themselves in recent years, especially since the onset of the crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Take the example of TotalEnergies. The allegedly French oil company, which does not pay taxes in France, made a profit of $16 billion in 2021, $4.9 billion in Q1 2022 and $5.7 billion in Q2. This is almost triple compared to last year in the same period.
And of that $16 billion from last year, half, about $8 billion, will be redistributed to the oil company’s shareholders.
And that’s just one example. All the other companies, I mean all, have seen their profits skyrocket. Le Monde cites ExxonMobil and Shell as examples, with profits of $23 billion and $20.1 billion, respectively. But also Chevron (15.6 billion) and BP (7.6 billion)…
The mineral oil companies, including Engen, Ola or Vito, have the opportunity to award this discount of 20 cents.
TotalÉnergies distributes crumbs
In view of these record and immodest profits, TotalEnergie practices the policy of small gifts. Since Total sells 10 billion liters of fuel a year in France, a simple rule of three puts the cost of the discount granted at 500 million euros. Compared to last year’s 16 billion in profits…
Same problem in mainland France
Faced with this, the petrol station operators prefer to withhold this 20 cent discount from the Reunionese rather than fight the tankers. They always bring the same argument to the table, which is the risk of gas station closures.
The problem is that this risk is not specific to Reunion Island. Francis Pousse, President of Mobilians’ Petrol Stations and New Energy division, which represents 5,800 petrol stations in France, explains on France Info that the problem is exactly the same in mainland France.
“Total is a French brand and controls the entire chain, imports oil, refines oil, distributes oil. The others present in the French sector, such as Esso or BP (which made a profit of 7.6 billion, ed.), are wholesalers who do not have the means at all to make this 20 cent discount. These gas stations, often in rural areas, are buying into a market where that additional 20 cent discount is not available.
Total negotiated this gesture with the government. The problem is other people. For several years we have been fighting to save the S-Bahn stations in particular, and that is a hard blow, because for 4 months, and we cannot blame the consumers, sales have been at half-staff.
We will have the closure of outlets with obvious job losses but above all with a problem of access to energy“
1,700 jobs on Reunion threatened
The problem is believed to be exacerbated on Reunion Island due to the negotiated pricing system put in place with the counterpart of maintaining pump attendant jobs, while pumps on the mainland are often free. The managers therefore do not have to bear the salaries of the supervisors.
The number of 1,700 jobs that could be lost is often announced by station managers without our having the means to verify.
But who dares to explain to the Reunionese that the operators of gas stations, who obviously show no sympathy given the large cars in which they drive, will go on strike or even block the SRPP depot at the port like last February to avoid the Withholding a discount of 20 centimes per liter of fuel from motorists? With a 50 liter tank, that is a loss of 10 euros per tank!
I wish you good luck!
So what solution?
Let’s listen to France Info’s Francis Pousse, representative of 5,800 petrol station managers in France:
“I think it is indeed legally complicated to set it up (specific help for channels other than Total, editor’s note). This is certainly an opportunity to put back on the table a dossier that we have been calling for for several years, namely the re-establishment of a structural aid fund for service stations to help them diversify into new energies. . We’re going to need power, especially fast terminals everywhere. It’s not just on the Autobahn that you need to be able to charge your car in the shortest possible time. And then we need help for economic modernization, like we’ve been doing a little bit for tobacco shops for years, to help gas stations to change various offers so that the entire point of sale is profitable.