LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - The oil market has not seen the destocking that it expected for the first half of 2017, Vitol executive committee member Chris Bake said on Thursday.
Bake told the S&P Global Platts Crude Oil Summit that while oil inventories were shifting, with cargoes moving from the Atlantic Basin into Asia, the overall drawdown that many hoped for amid OPEC-led production cuts had not yet materialised.
"This 550 million barrel-plus inventory build of crude and products that started in 2014 is still very much there," Bake said. "How much is tertiary or strategic, how much is going to come out, that is an ongoing debate among all of us."
Vitol, the world's largest oil trading house, moved a record 7 million barrels per day of crude and oil products last year.
He added that the market had continued to confound expectations since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers agreed last year to cut output, as OPEC was no longer a lone heavyweight.
"The market is in flux because we’ve all traditionally said there is this huge price regulator sitting there, that has been OPEC, and I think that model is severely challenged today,” he said.
"Three months later (after the OPEC-led deal), we see the U.S. rig count double and it says ‘this isn’t the only driver in the market any more. We have this other driver in the market that is incredibly powerful.’” (Reporting by Julia Payne, Libby George and Amanda Cooper; Editing by Dale Hudson and Jason Neely)