The world’s largest Independent oil trading firm, Vitol Group, paid a record $2.2 billion to its executives and staff through share buybacks last year, an unusually large payout, as the oil trader goes through a transition period in leadership.
This translates to over $6 million each to its about 350 top employees/partners, an amount that compares favourably with compensations at leading investment banks.
According to Bloomberg, the share buyback which is Vitol’s main way of rewarding its top employees who have stakes in the privately-owned company means the trading firm has paid over $14 billion to its partners in the past 15 years.
This figure shows how the wealth of the commodities trading industry has been distributed to just a few senior executives who have gone through the ups and downs of the energy markets over the past 2 decades.
The global energy sector which has been going through challenging times due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on oil demand and prices has seen income from oil trading activities play a major role in sustaining the industry.
Vitol, which is led by Russel Hardy as its Chief Executive Officer, has enjoyed strong profits in recent years, a trend that continued in 2019 when net income matched the $2.3 billion income record that was set in 2009. The company earlier this year said that it benefited from higher trading volumes and relative tightness in the oil market in 2019.
This created opportunity for bigger trading margins as other trading firms across the industry also reported strong profits in 2019.
Nairametrics had reported that top trader, Glencore Plc, was expecting an impressive trading profit for the year as it had reported an almost $1 billion earnings before interest and taxes in oil trading in the first half of 2020. This was similar to what was earned for the full year 2019.
Vitol ships 8 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products every day, enough to meet the demand of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK all put together.
The share buyback for last year, was unusually huge for Vitol, which usually paid its partners a smaller amount than the previous year’s net income, allowing the company to increase its equity base. But the $2.2 billion that was given to shareholders in 2019 far exceeded the $1.7 billion that it made in 2018.
The unusually higher payout came at the same time several of Vitol’s senior partners were making way for a new generation. Long-time CEO Ian Taylor moved to become chairman in 2018 and died earlier this year. Other top executives have also taken a step back from day-to-day operations, including Mike Loya, who ran America’s business from Houston and left the company earlier this year, and David Fransen, who was head of the Geneva office.
Vitol had revealed in the past that none of its top partners owned more than 5% shares as the company bought back enough shares from older partners to limit their stake, in other trading firms like Glencore Plc and Trafigura, the top executives have always controlled much larger stakes. It’s unclear if there is a connection between the change of guard at the top of Vitol and the unusual large buyback.
According to the director’s full-year results report, the company expects to achieve a reasonable result in 2020. However, its profit in the first quarter of 2020 fell sharply, with a 70% drop in net income to $180 million, as the company failed to fully anticipate the deep drop in fuel demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
FG to begin online registration, monitoring of petrol stations, depots
The DPR has stated that it will commence the remote monitoring, registration, and accreditation of all petroleum products depots.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has revealed that it plans to automate and begin remote monitoring, registration, and accreditation of petroleum products depots, retail outlets, and the entire downstream oil and gas industry, with the launch of the newly established Downstream Remote Monitoring Systems (DRMS).
While disclosing a statement in Abuja, the Head, Public Affairs of the DPR, Paul Osu, pointed out that the newly established Downstream Remote Monitoring Systems is expected to take off on December 1, 2020, after the launch in Abuja.
According to a report by Vanguard, Osu explained that the DRMS is a web-based solution designed to provide intelligent regulatory and inventory management system for petroleum products supply and distribution from depot to retail outlets and also as a regulatory tool to monitor retail outlets and depot activities.
He said, “Other features of the application include retail outlets accreditation and re-registration, nationwide automated product inventory management, retail outlets coordinate recording for mapping purposes and transactions management and report generation of dealers nationwide.
“The establishment of DRMS is another strategic initiative of DPR to continue to create opportunities and enable business in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.”
It can be recalled that the DPR had a few months ago, launched the National Production Monitoring System (NPMS), another online platform to assist the oil and gas regulator accurately monitor national crude oil production and exports, through the provision of a system for direct and independent acquisition of production data from oil and gas facilities in Nigeria
This is to ensure timely and accurate reporting of production figures and export data. This is also expected to guard against the crude oil theft that is prevalent in Nigeria’s upstream oil sector or reported cases of crude oil that is sold but unaccounted for.
The NPMS is an initiative that is developed as a replacement for the current paper-based report and ensures ready production reporting to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and other agencies.
DPR approves new Liquefied Petroleum Gas guidelines for investors, operators
DPR has announced the introduction of new guidelines to accommodate more LPG investors and operators across the country.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has announced the introduction of new guidelines to accommodate more Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) investors and operators across the country as part of its policy on gas.
This initiative by the oil and gas regulator is part of the measures aimed at enhancing the availability of LPG, also known as cooking gas in Nigeria, in addition to meeting the current administration’s target of 5 million metric tonnes of domestic, commercial and industrial LPG utilization in the next 10 years.
According to a report by ThisDay, the disclosure was made by the Zonal Operations Controller of DPR, Ayorinde Cardoso, while speaking with journalists during a public sensitization exercise on safe usage of LPG.
Cardoso stated that the federal government through the National Gas Expansion Programme was committed to making gas accessible and affordable for Nigerians.
He said, “We have a lot of people coming into the sector to invest and DPR is on ground to ensure that they follow the regulatory requirements. We have brought out new guidelines to encourage investors and anybody that wants to operate in the sector to follow the guidelines.
“DPR is also collaborating with the Lagos state government and other stakeholders to improve safety in gas storage, sales and distribution.”
What you should know
Nairametrics had earlier reported that as part of its new policy on gas, DPR had moved against illegal operators of gas facilities with the shutdown of 85 LPG plants in Lagos in the last 10 months. It stated that the plants were shut down for not complying with international safety standards and operating without approval or license from the DPR.
The Federal Government had encouraged stakeholders and investors to invest in the LPG sector to accelerate the development of the domestic gas market.
It can be recalled that the FG through the Central Bank of Nigeria had set up a N250 billion intervention facility for the national gas expansion programme, with the specific target at making Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) the fuel of choice for transportation as against petrol and LPG for domestic cooking, captive power, and small industrial complexes.
Nigeria’s 5,000 BPD refinery will produce 271 million liters of petrol every year
The operator of the newly commissioned refinery has disclosed that the facility will produce 271 million liters of petroleum products annually.
Mr. Chikezie Nwosu, Chief Executive Officer of WalterSmith Petroman Oil Limited, the operator of the new refinery, has disclosed that the newly commissioned 5,000 BPD Refinery will produce 271 million liters of petroleum product annually.
This information was disclosed by Nwosu in his address during the commissioning ceremony of the 5,000 BPD Modular Refinery, in the Ibigwe Field, Imo State.
Mr. Nwosu disclosed that the refinery will refine 5,000 barrels per day of crude oil, and produce 271 million liters of petroleum product annually.
He added that since it commenced the evacuation of products in November 2020, it has already delivered 5 million liters of product into the Nigerian market.
While speaking at the ceremony, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Engr. Simbi Wabote explained that the next phase of the project will be a 45,000 BPD Refinery, with a completion timeline of 24-30months. When completed, the Refinery will utilize 16 million barrels of crude oil annually.
He stressed that this is an impressive and avid step towards the board’s mandates of developing in-country capacities/capabilities to add value to Nigeria’s hydrocarbon resources.
The ES of NCDMB disclosed that the Federal Government’s target is that at least 10% of Nigeria’s crude and condensate production should be refined through modular refineries.
What you should know
The refinery is one of the government’s investments in the oil industry, as FG’s investments in ongoing modular refinery projects so far amount to 80,000 BPD of combined modular refining capacity.
WalterSmith Petroman Oil Limited owns 70% of the Refinery being commissioned today, while the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria hold 30% equity of the refinery.
However, it is important to note that the Federal Government of Nigeria signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Niger Republic on the transportation and storage of petroleum products.
Why this matters
The refinery is a giant step towards the development of capacities and capabilities in the oil industry, especially in terms of local production of refined petroleum products.
The Refinery will strengthen local and indigenous investment in the oil industry and boost the production capacity of refined crude products in the country.
According to OPEC, Nigeria’s petroleum products import of $58.75 billion, outstrips the country’s crude oil export of $45.12 billion, at the end of 2019. This development is expected to reduce the importation of petroleum products in Nigeria.