Vitol made record profits during 2020 oil swings

SourceFinancial Times
SectorFinancial Markets

Vitol made record profits in 2020 as the gyrations in global energy markets triggered a windfall for the world’s largest independent oil trader. Despite being blindsided by crude’s sharp fall at the beginning of the pandemic, the group earned a gross profit of $5bn in 2020 and net income of almost $3bn, according to figures shared with the Financial Times by people in the industry who have seen the privately held company’s accounts. That was up from $2.2bn of net income in 2019, which had been a near-record year for the group. The figures are the latest evidence that traders were the big winners from last year’s oil slump, when crude prices collapsed as the pandemic created demand-sapping lockdowns around the world 12 months ago. Vitol, which declined to comment on its results, separately on Tuesday said it traded an average of 7.1m barrels a day of crude and refined products last year, down from 8m b/d in 2019. The group’s turnover, which is more...