By Halliwell, Cat
06/04/2017

March Oil report – Comparing the UK and French Energy supply systems

Energy policies haven’t always played a big part in the election process, but with a French Election in the not too distant future, and the triggering of Article 50, we thought it would be interesting to look at French Energy Supply System and see how it compares to the UK’s.

Unlike Britain, France has no indigenous production of oil and is, in fact, the EU’s largest importer of crude – most of it coming from Russia, Saudi and Norway. France has more refineries than the UK (8 vs 6), but overall capacity (1.3m barrels per day) is about the same, meaning that UK refineries tend to be slightly larger. Each refinery in Britain has a different owner (only 1 of them being British), whereas, in France, 5 of the 8 refineries are owned by oil giant Total - who enjoy almost unchallenged power in France’s downstream sector.

In Britain, our oil reserve is made up of stock holdings from multiple independent oil companies up and down the supply-chain, but the French simply have SAGESS – a state entity that stores all the stock on behalf of the French Government. The SAGESS was founded in 1988 by petroleum operators to build and maintain most of the strategic oil stocks from France and it currently holds three-quarters of France's compulsory stocks

In France, the state-owned utility company EDF generates more than 80% of the country’s electricity, whereas, in Britain, no supplier has more than a 35% market share.

EDF dominates French energy markets, and so too does one particular energy source – nuclear power, which generates an incredible 77% of French electricity, which is easily the highest level of nuclear dependency in the world - Ukraine is 2nd with 56%.

With a lot of civil unrest in the world, we expect Energy Policies will begin to play a bigger part in the world of politics.

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