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Baseefa Ltd

Total says French oil tax could affect refining arm

09 July 2012

The cost for Total of a one-off tax on oil inventories included in France’s amended 2012 budget bill will be between €140 million and €160 million, Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said on the sidelines of a news conference in Aix-en-Provence.

Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie
Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie

France confirmed this week it would impose the tax on the oil sector to raise some €550 million, helping fill government coffers, but hurting its struggling refining industry.

“What is bothering us really is that the refining sector, which will be hit by these taxes if we target crude oil stocks, is a loss-making sector, and it’s always a nuisance when you overtax a sector which is not doing well in the first place,” Mr de Margerie told reporters.

European refiners have been struggling for years due to poor margins and weak demand for fuel products in the crisis. The traditional market for French exports of refined oil products, the US, has also dried up.

Total closed its Dunkerque refinery in 2010, and has reduced output at Gonfreville in Normandy. The company is also planning to close a refinery in Italy in the near future, but it will remain the largest single refiner in Europe. 


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