Vitol extends oil demand growth peak estimate to 2034

LONDON (Reuters) - Vitol reported higher traded volumes last year on Tuesday, cementing its position as the world’s largest oil trader, and said it expected oil demand growth to peak by around 2034.

FILE PHOTO: A sign is pictured in front of the Vitol Group trading commodities company building in Geneva October 4, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The estimate for demand growth to begin falling is later than before, despite global efforts to reduce carbon emissions from using oil. Vitol’s chairman Ian Taylor said in late 2017 he saw oil demand growth peaking by 2028-2030.

“We anticipate that oil demand will continue to grow for the next 15 years, even with a marked increase in the sales of electric vehicles, but that demand growth will begin to be impacted thereafter,” Vitol said in a statement, adding that it has been investing in greener, renewable energies.

Vitol, which is run out of London, also said its traded crude and products volumes rose to 7.4 million barrels per day (bpd) last year, up from 7.2 million bpd in 2017.

Total oil volume was 357 million tonnes, up slightly from 349 million tonnes the previous year, it said in a statement.

Crude continued to represent the bulk of those volumes, rising to 3.8 million bpd from 3.6 million in 2017. On the products side, gasoline volume rebounded by 30 percent to 44 million tonnes while fuel oil and naphtha declined.

Its traded liquefied natural gas volume rose to 7.8 million tonnes in 2018, up from 7.4 million.

Turnover increased on the back of rising oil prices to $231 billion last year, up from $181 billion in 2017. Vitol did not disclose its net profit.

The Financial Times said on Monday the firm’s net income was $1.7 billion, excluding a $200 million hit for currency and depreciation, compared with $1.5 billion in 2017.

The year was also marked by raising cash from major assets, namely Vitol’s downstream businesses Viva Energy Australia and Vivo Energy that were both listed.

The firm also completed the acquisition of Noble Group’s oil business, increased its stake in storage firm VTTI to 50 percent and bought 50 percent of Brazilian retail network Rodoil.

Vitol expects a major upstream investment in Nigeria to close later this year. The firm is part of a consortium that agreed to buy Petrobras’ interests in two major blocks that produce around 370,000 bpd for $1.41 billion.

Oil and gas production in its Ghana interest was ramping up to 85,000 bpd, Vitol said.

Reporting by Julia Payne; Editing by David Holmes and Alexander Smith