Oil Trader Vitol Sees 2013 Revenues Flat at $307 bln

Source: Reuters 3/24/2014, Location: Asia

Top oil trader Vitol's revenues were flat in 2013 despite higher crude and product volumes as increased competition led to another year of single-digit growth.

The Swiss-based trader's revenues in 2013 reached $307 billion, up 1.3 percent from 2012, when they were $303 billion, according to its results statement.

The independent trader did not disclose its profits. Even though its revenue growth slowed in 2013, Vitol still is widely considered the world's biggest independent oil trader.

Total revenues have risen by more than 60 percent since 2008, the pace of growth has slowed markedly in the last two years. After recording revenues of $297 billion in 2011, they have since grown by just 3.5 percent.

"2013 was a very challenging year for many in the physical energy distribution business. Markets remained extremely competitive with new entrants increasing margin pressure on certain regional activity," Vitol Chief Executive Officer Ian Taylor said.

Traded volumes of crude and refined oil products in 2013 outpaced revenue gains, rising 5.7 percent to 276 million tonnes, or 5.5 million barrels-per-day, around 6 percent of global oil demand.

The small gain in revenues was linked in part to a drop of around 2.3 percent in the average price of benchmark Brent crude oil in 2013 from a year earlier.

New state-of-the-art refineries built in the United States, the Middle East, Russia and Asia have dramatically changed oil trade flows in recent years and increased competition among trading houses such as Glencore, Trafigura and Gunvor as well as national oil companies.

"While these market conditions aren't expected to change overnight, changing supply and demand balances are generating some new opportunities," Taylor said.

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