(Adds detail on management changes, upstream and asphalt)
By Julia Payne
March 24 Vitol's annual traded volumes rose 16
percent in 2016 to a new record as the world's largest
independent energy trader sold more gasoline and diesel in
markets such as the United States and Australia.
The Swiss-based company said on Friday its crude
oil and product trading rose to 2,597 million barrels last year,
or more than 7 million barrels a day.
Crude represented 48 percent of its traded portfolio and
volumes also rose 16 percent. The biggest jump in percentage
terms came from gasoline, up 44 percent and gasoil, up 26
percent, driven by increasing demand in the United States,
Australia and Vitol's growing presence in key African markets.
Vitol's turnover, however, fell to $152 billion in 2016 from
$168 billion in 2015 as a result of lower energy prices.
"(Global) demand growth of 1.4 million barrels a day
exceeded our expectations slightly, but the continued efficiency
gains within the exploration and extraction sector ensured the
market was well supplied and the impact on price constrained,"
The firm also said oil prices in 2016 were no longer in the
steep contango market structure that boosted results in 2015.
Contango is a market structure in which the price for delivery
of a product in the future is higher than the immediate price.
Vitol also said growth in the supply of liquefied petroleum
gas (LPG) from U.S. shale was creating new opportunities.
"Our 2016 volumes increased by 131 percent and, longer term,
we anticipate that the ample supply of LPG will facilitate the
switch away from solid fuels for cooking in economies across
Africa and Asia," it said.
"In addition, we are working with power plants and light
industry in Africa to help them move from burning fuel oil and
diesel to LPG, a cleaner and more efficient source of fuel."
Vitol said its coal trading increased to levels last seen in
2014, reflecting a growing pull from Asia as new coal-fired
power stations became operational, with an estimated increase in
coal generation capacity in 2016 of more than 50 gigawatts.
The trader has also appointed Russell Hardy, a member of the
executive committee, to the newly created role of CEO for
Europe, Middle East and Africa as the company's growing size
demand more focussed management.
For its Geneva presence, David Fransen shifted from managing
director to chairman while Gerard Delsad, the company's chief
information officer, is now also the new management head.
During 2016, Vitol consolidated and expanded its presence in
the retail sector by increasing its stakes in existing ventures
while also adding Royal Dutch Shell's aviation business
Through a joint venture with U.S. firm Sargeant Marine
called VALT, Vitol increased its presence in asphalt. The
venture trades 1.3 million tonnes a year and has one of the
largest asphalt shipping fleets.
In production, Vitol said its focus remained its stake in
the Sankofa Gye Nyame field off Ghana operated by Eni.
It expects its first oil to be produced in the summer of 2017
and gas in the first half of 2018.
(Additional reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru and Dmitry
Zhdannikov in London; editing by Susan Thomas and David Clarke)