Portugal's Galp halts fuel production at Matosinhos refinery

LISBON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Portugal’s Galp Energia temporarily suspended fuel production at its smallest oil refinery at Matosinhos due to unstable national and international markets shaken by the coronavirus pandemic, a Galp spokesman said on Tuesday.

“Supply of the national market is guaranteed to remain, with an adequate level of products to satisfy the needs of the Portuguese, companies and industrial units,” he said in a statement sent to Reuters.

Galp said that although the suspension had no end date as yet, no workers would be laid off.

The suspension, which began on Oct. 10, was Galp’s second at the refinery this year, after one in April along with a halt at its largest refinery in Sines. The two refineries comprise 20% of refining capacity on the Iberian peninsula.

Galp resumed production at both refineries in June, a month after Portugal slowly started to emerge from a coronavirus lockdown.

Portugal has recorded nearly 90,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,110 deaths - far fewer than in many other European countries. But the pandemic is set to leave lasting scars on the Portuguese economy, with the government predicting gross domestic product to contract 8.5% this year. (Reporting by Catarina Demony Editing by Mark Heinrich)