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Founded1966; 55 years ago (1966)
Rotterdam, Netherlands[1]
FounderHenk Viëtor[1][2]
Jacques Detiger[1][2]
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland; Rotterdam, the Netherlands [3]
Number of locations
Increase 40 principally Geneva
Area served
Key people
Russell Hardy, CEO[4]
ServicesEnergy trading, Commodity trading
RevenueDecrease US$ 225 billion (2019)[5][6]
Increase $2.3 billion (2019)
OwnerVitol Holding II S.A.
Number of employees
Increase 1365 [7]
SubsidiariesVaro Energy, Petrol Ofisi, Vencer Energy, VPI Immingham, Sargeant Marine of Harry Sargeant III, Euromin, Cockett Marine Oil of Rusia, OVH Energy, Hillsborough Resources, Rosco, Ronaco Holding B.V., Anchor Insurance Rotterdam B.V., Raffia Oil, Geo-Alliance Oil-Gas and also owns Arawak Energy thanks to Rosco acquisition and also owns and controls the Port of Fujairah and partly the Habshan–Fujairah oil pipeline, Vitol Tank Terminals International BV (VTTI)

Vitol is a Dutch energy and commodity trading company that was founded in Rotterdam in 1966 by Henk Viëtor and Jacques Detiger. [8][9][1][2][10] Though physical trading, logistics and distribution are at the core of the business, these are complemented by refining, shipping, terminals, exploration and production, power generation, and retail businesses. Vitol has 40 offices worldwide and its largest operations are in Geneva, Houston, London, and Singapore. With revenues of $231 billion in 2018,[11] it is the largest independent energy trader in the world, and would rank ninth on the Fortune Global 500 list.[12] Because Vitol does not publish its profits widely, much like most of its competitors in commodity trading, it is largely excluded from rankings. But the company does provide financial information to its lenders and some energy groups with which it trades.[13] The company ships more than 350 million tonnes of crude oil per year and controls 250 supertankers and other vessels to move it around the world. On average it handles more than 7 million barrels a day of oil and products - roughly equivalent to the daily consumption of Japan - the world's third largest oil consumer after the United States and China.[14][15]

Vitol is a private company which is owned significantly by a proportion of its employees, who are known for their culture of privacy and secrecy, from both competitors and the general public.[10] In March 2015, the Financial Times suggested that Vitol appeared to make a $1.2 billion dividend distribution.[16][17][18]



In addition to the global crude and product trading businesses, the company trades coal, natural gas, power, ethanol, methanol, gasoline, LNG, LPG, naphtha, bitumen, base oils and carbon emissions.[19][20]

Terminals and infrastructure[edit]

In total, Vitol has around 16 million cubic meters of storage capacity across the globe.[21]

Vitol is the sole owner of VTTI B.V., a storage and terminals business with a capacity of around 8.7 million cubic meters (MCM) in 11 countries: Netherlands (1.328 MCM + 1.118 MCM), Latvia (1.195 MCM), UAE (1.180 MCM), Belgium (0.965 MCM), Malaysia (0.893 MCM), Cyprus (0.544 MCM), USA (0.452 MCM), Argentina (0.218 MCM), Kenya (0.111 MCM), Russia (0.049 MCM), Nigeria (0.016 MCM).[22] MISC Berhad held a 50% stake in VTTI from May 2010 until August 2015.[23]

In January 2012 Vitol acquired a stake in a subsidiary of the South African shipping firm Grindrod, which gives it access to a coal terminal in Mozambique.[24]


In addition to offices in Dubai and Bahrain, Vitol's key strategic asset in the Middle East is the Fujairah Refinery Company Limited (FRCL), which operates an 82,000 barrel per day refinery and a 1,034,000 cubic meter tank farm. FRCL has further development plans in place, which include a 140,000 cubic meter expansion of the tank farm, refurbishment of existing refining units and the installation of additional processing units.[25] Vitol also has invested in refining assets in Bayernoil (Germany), Cressier (Switzerland), Antwerp (Belgium) and the Geelong refinery near Melbourne (Australia). In 2018, Vitol bought the 85,000 barrel per day Rotterdam Condensate Splitter from Koch Industries.

Exploration and production[edit]

Vitol, through its wholly owned subsidiaries Arawak Energy Limited and Vitol E&P, has interests in various exploration and production projects worldwide. Arawak Energy is mainly focused on the FSU where it produces oil and gas in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, while Vitol E&P holds a portfolio of exploration and development assets along the West African Transform Margin in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

In February 2014, it was reported that Vitol, in concert with the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, had bought the downstream businesses of Shell Australia (excluding aviation) for a total of approximately AU$2.9 billion. The purchase included Shell's Geelong Refinery and its 870-site retail business, along with its bulk fuels, bitumen, chemicals and part of its lubricants businesses in Australia.[26] The business trades as Viva Energy, although the Shell brand remains on many of its retail products.[27]

Further in January 2015, Vitol in collaboration with Eni signed a $7 billion agreement with the government, for the production of oil and gas at Cape Three Points in Western Region of Ghana. The contract is expected to help meet Ghana's burgeoning energy needs.[28]


Vitol Aviation is focused on Europe, North America and Africa, serving the world’s largest airlines and military customers with 5.7 million tonnes of jet fuel a year into wing.


In 2013 Vitol invested in its first power plant, VPI Immingham in the UK. The combined heat and power plant (CHP) is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, capable of generating 1,240 MW and up to 930 tonnes of steam per hour which is used by nearby refineries. The gas-fired plant provides approximately 2.5% of UK peak electricity demand.


In 2018, Vitol traded:[20]

  • Oil: 351 million tonnes of crude oil and product sales
  • Natural Gas: over 20 billion cubic meters of physical gas globally
  • LPG: 14 million tonnes
  • Naphtha: 15 million tonnes
  • Gasoline: 1 million barrels of physical gasoline traded per day
  • Coal: over 30 million tonnes
  • Power: 93 TWh of power sales contracted
  • Carbon: 49 mm tonnes of contracted carbon volume
  • Methanol: 1.4 million tonnes
  • Chemicals: 4 million tonnes (Benzene and Paraxylene)


A 2001 article in the Observer stated that in 1995 Vitol had secretly paid US$1 million to Serbian war criminal Arkan to settle a deal with a Serbian Oil company, Orion.[29][30] Vitol has denied all charges, arguing that no government agency has ever prosecuted the company in this respect.[31]

In 2007, Vitol pleaded guilty to grand larceny in a New York court for paying surcharges to Iraq's national oil company during Saddam's regime and circumventing the UN oil-for-food program. Vitol subsequently paid $17.5 million in restitution for its actions.[32]

According to an article in the Financial Times, Vitol was the company to organise the first controversial sale of Libyan rebel oil to Tesoro Corporation in early April 2011.[33] According to the Financial Times, the company was approached by the Qatari national oil company to sell a cargo of crude oil supplied by the Libyans in exchange for technological supplies and fuel for the National Transitional Council of Libya.[34]

In September 2012, an article in Reuters alleged that the company had bought and sold Iranian fuel oil, bypassing an EU embargo against Tehran. Vitol bought 2 million barrels using a ship-to-ship transfer off the coast of Malaysia from a National Iranian Tanker Company vessel and sold it to Chinese traders. The article stated that as Vitol is based in Switzerland, which did not implement Western sanctions, Vitol had skirted the charges.[35]

In 2013, The Telegraph alleged that the company had been using, for over a decade, an Employee Benefit Trust, avoiding paying income tax for its UK staff.[36]

In 2018, The Dispute Settlement and Sanctions Committee of CRE, the French Energy Regulatory Commission, fined VITOL S.A. € 5 million for engaging in market manipulation on the French Southern virtual Gas Trading Point (“PEG Sud”) between 1 June 2013 and 31 March 2014.[37] Vitol is appealing this decision. [38]

In 2020, Vitol Inc. agreed to pay a combined total criminal penalty of $135 million to resolve bribery charges with law enforcement authorities in the United States and Brazil.[39][40][41] The resolution arises out of Vitol schemes to pay bribes to officials in Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.[39]

Vitol Asia Pte Ltd[edit]

Vitol Asia Pte Ltd operates as an energy and commodities company. The Company offers refining, trading, shipping, and storage of crude oil and energy products. Vitol Asia serves clients worldwide.[42]

The company was founded in April 21st, 1990 and is headquartered in Singapore. The company's CEO is Hui Meng Kho.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Meet The Mysterious Trading Firms Who Control The Price Of Commodities". BusinessNews. 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  2. ^ a b c Schneyer, Joshua (2011-10-28). "Commodity Traders: The trillion dollar club". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-04-11.
  3. ^ "Top ten global oil and commodities traders". April 15, 2011 – via
  4. ^ Hoffman, Andy and Blas, Javier. "Top Trader Vitol Has New CEO as Taylor Becomes Chairman", Bloomberg, 15 March 2018. Retrieved on 16 March 2018.
  5. ^ Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Vitol 2018 volumes and review". Vitol. March 19, 2019.
  7. ^ "Where we work". Vitol.
  8. ^ "Swiss-Dutch Vitol to receive LNG from Gazprom from 2018".
  9. ^ "BNamericas - Vitol Group (Vitol)".
  10. ^ a b O'Keefe, Brian. "The unseen hand that moves the world's oil". Fortune. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  11. ^ "Vitol 2018 volumes and review". Vitol. 2019-03-19. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  12. ^ "Fortune Global 500". 2020-01-03.
  13. ^ Blas, Javier (19 March 2015). "Vitol Said to Post Highest Profit Since 2011 as Oil Prices Swing". Bloomberg. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  14. ^ Schneyer, Joshua. "Corrected: Commodity Traders: The trillion dollar club". Reuters. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  15. ^ Hume, Neil (19 March 2015). "Oil trader Vitol's profits rebound to $1.35bn". Financial Times. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  16. ^ Hume, Neil (19 March 2015). "Oil trader Vitol's profits rebound to $1.35bn". Financial Times.
  17. ^ Armitage, Jim. "Vitol: Tough work but staff stay loyal due to huge bonuses". Independent. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  18. ^ Butcher, Sarah. "Two commodity trading houses where average pay is £750k+". efinancialcareers. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  19. ^ "Vitol, RNK Capital Complete Inaugural Trade on The Green Exchange" (PDF) (Press release). Evolution Markets Inc. 2008-03-17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
  20. ^ a b "Vitol 2018 volumes and review". Vitol. March 19, 2019.
  21. ^ "Terminals and storage". Vitol.
  22. ^ VTTI. "VTTI - Terminals - Better placed".
  23. ^ Sheppard, David; Raval, Anjli (21 August 2015). "Vitol buys out oil tank partner's stake in VTTI BV for $830m". Financial Times.
  24. ^ "Vitol buys stake in Grindrod's coal terminal".
  25. ^ "UAE's Fujairah sells refinery stake to Vitol". Reuters. 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
  26. ^ Fowles, Shane (2014-02-21). "Vitol to retain jobs at Geelong refinery after buying Shell's assets". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  27. ^ "Viva Energy Australia". Viva Energy Australia. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  28. ^ Gadugah, Nathan (2015-01-27). "Gov't signs $7billion oil and gas agreement to produce 1100 megawatts power". Joy Online. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  29. ^ Barnett, Antony; Bright, Martin (2001-07-01). "Oil chief paid m to warlord". The Guardian. London. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  30. ^ Barnett, Antony; Bright, Martin (30 June 2001). "Oil chief paid $1m to warlord". Retrieved April 1, 2014 – via The Guardian.
  31. ^ "Controversial background of No campaign donor". HeraldScotland. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  32. ^ "Swiss Commodities Business May Be Revamped". Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  33. ^ Schneyer, Joshua (2011-05-25). "US refiner Tesoro buys cargo of Libyan rebel oil". Reuters.
  34. ^ Blas, Javier (September 5, 2011). "Risky oil supply deal pays off for Vitol". Financial Times. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  35. ^ "Exclusive: Vitol trades Iranian fuel oil, skirting sanctions". 26 September 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2014 – via Reuters.
  36. ^ "Oil trader Vitol in talks over tax-avoidance bill". Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  37. ^ "The Dispute Settlement and Sanctions Committee (CoRDiS) imposes a penalty for market manipulations on the wholesale energy market". Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  38. ^ "Vitol response to CoRDiS decision". Vitol. October 9, 2018.
  39. ^ a b "Vitol Inc. Agrees to Pay Over $135 Million to Resolve Charges for Bribery Schemes in Latin America". December 3, 2020.
  40. ^ Tokar, Dylan (December 22, 2020). "Derivatives Regulator Uses Dodd-Frank Rule to Target Foreign Bribery" – via
  41. ^ "CFTC Charges an Energy Company and its Employee with Foreign Corruption". JD Supra.
  42. ^ Lim, Hwee Ming. "Research Guides: Commodities: Commodity trading firms". Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  43. ^ "Vitol Asia Pte Ltd - Company Profile and News". Retrieved 2020-03-25.

External links[edit]