France has enough oil reserves for 90 days: official

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France still has 90 days of oil left even after the government authorised the use of strategic reserves to cope with strike induced shortages, the body controlling the stocks said Friday.

"At midday, the reserves held by the company for managing safety reserves were what they are supposed to be," Jean-Marc Tennesson of the French Committee of Strategic Oil Reserves (CFSSP) told AFP.

Thousands of French petrol stations have run dry as protest action against President Nicolas Sarkozy's unpopular pension reform bid hit refineries and oil depots in recent weeks.

At the start of October, France had 17 million tonnes of crude oil and oil products in its strategic stocks, enough for an estimated 98.5 days of consumption, more than the internationally stipulated 90 days.

The reserves are controlled by the CFSSP and oil companies which keep part of the stocks in their oil depots.

The government on October 15 authorised the use of companies' own reserves but declined to use the term "strategic reserves" in order to avoid panicking motorists and markets.

But an official from the International Energy Agency confirmed on Monday that France had indeed started to use its strategic reserves and that the agency had been informed.

© 2010 AFP

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