RPT-UPDATE 1-Vitol to buy stakes in Rialto's west African oil assets

Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:44pm EDT

(Repeats story published late on Tuesday; no change to text)

GENEVA, April 23 (Reuters) - Top oil trader Vitol has taken stakes in oil and gas explorer Rialto Energy's West African assets to improve access to energy supplies.

Privately held Vitol, which reported record revenue above $300 billion last year, has used its deep pockets to buy energy assets to increase its control of global supply chains.

Under the agreement, the Swiss firm will take a 20 percent stake in Rialto's Ghana operation and 65 percent in its Ivory Coast unit in exchange for upstream financing.

Vitol already has oil blocs in the region, including Nigeria and Cameroon, and won a contract to begin exporting oil from Gabon earlier this year.

Rialto's shares listed on the Australian Securities Exchange were trading at A$0.0490 on Tuesday. They have fallen around 80 percent in the past twelve months.

The agreement is subject to regulatory approval. ($1 = 0.9757 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Emma Farge; editing by Keiron Henderson and Louise Heavens)

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