Vitol Earned $13 Billion in Second Year of Blowout Profits

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Vitol Group posted a profit of about $13 billion for 2023, according to a person familiar with the matter, marking the second consecutive year of bumper earnings for the world’s biggest independent oil trader.

Profit fell from the record $15.1 billion that Vitol earned a year earlier but was still more than triple the company’s profit in 2021, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered wild swings across energy markets that create opportunities for traders like Vitol.

While the extreme volatility in energy prices has subsided, Vitol’s financial result is the latest evidence that the commodity trading industry is still enjoying elevated profit margins. Sanctions on Russian exports continue to reroute vast amounts of the world’s energy trade, creating new dislocations and trading opportunities.

“The scale of this realignment should not be underestimated,” Vitol CEO Russell Hardy said in a statement last month, referring to the rerouting of Russian oil displacing flows “which have had to find new homes.”


A spokesperson for Vitol declined to comment. The profit figure was first reported by The Financial Times.

The latest numbers are also further indication that Vitol has cemented its position as the top independent commodity trading house. In the past three years, the firm has reaped more than $32 billion in net profit, a staggering amount that trump its rivals which also had blowout years.

Rival Gunvor Group Ltd. last week reported its second-biggest profit ever of $1.25 billion, while warning that the market volatility that has supported earnings in recent years has cooled. Trafigura Group posted a record $7.4 billion profit for its financial year that ended in September.

Vitol is plowing some of its profits into investments in assets — it recently announced it was buying a majority stake in Italian oil refinery Saras SpA, and is in the regulatory process of acquiring most of South African fuel retailer Engen Ltd.

The company last month reported its annual revenue fell to $400 billion from $505 billion a year earlier, as energy prices retreated.

The bumper profits are also likely to mean another year of bumper payouts for the roughly 450 people who own Vitol’s partnership shares.

(Adds context of recent profits from sixth paragraph.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

By Archie Hunter


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