Oil trader expands into physical assets

Vitol oil traderThe world’s largest oil trader, Vitol has teamed up with Marcel Van Poecke, co-founder of Petroplus, to buy the Cressier refinery in Switzerland.

Petroplus administrator, Wenger-Plattner reported last week that Varo Holding SA – the joint venture between Vitol and Van Poecke’s AtlasInvest – had agreed to buy the Cressier plant and will complete the transaction by the end of June.   The move is seen as part of the Vitol’s drive to expand into physical assets.

The 68,000 barrel per day plant will resume activities after the handover is completed, added the administrator, dismissing the suggestion that the plant will be converted to storage.

A quality, niche refinery, storage assets and wholesale marketing opportunities

Vitol’s chief executive, Ian Taylor, said that the transaction provides the company with access to a “quality, niche refinery and a supply chain of storage assets and wholesale marketing opportunities.” He predicted that it would become a valuable source of growth for the Vitol Group.

Varo’s main rival for the Cressier plant was strongly rumoured to have been former Russian energy minister, Igor Yusufov, via his investment arm, Fund Energy.


Marcel Van Poecke, who founded Petroplus in 1993, and oversaw its operations for 13 years, has also been involved in offering a temporary lifeline at Coryton. Fuel Oil News contacted PwC, administrators for Coryton yesterday and can report that there is no further comment at this time.  Bids closed on 2nd April.  Gary Klesch is rumoured to be among those interested.

Yesterday a crude oil tanker was heading for Coryton.  Does this mark the end of the three month rescue deal or the start of a new one?


Swiss-based trader Gunvor has completed the acquisition of Petroplus’ Antwerp plant in Belgium which will restart in the next few days after a four-month outage

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