Vitol Chairman dies after building world’s biggest energy trader
Ian Taylor, the chairman and former CEO of Vitol, has died aged 64 leaving a legacy of transforming a minor Dutch-based oil trader into the world’s largest independent energy and commodity trading house.
Starting out as a trader for Shell, Taylor joined Vitol Group in 1985 and was appointed CEO of the company in 1995, a position he held until March 2018.
British-born Taylor is widely credited with using his charisma, high-level contacts and business guile to forge new trading ties around the world, expanding Vitol’s global footprint. Under Taylor, Vitol struck supply deals with oil-producing countries to feed its growing storage and logistics infrastructure. Some of the deals courted controversy particularly due to trading contacts with Iraq and Serbia, and with Libya during its 2011 civil war.
Setting up Vitol’s crude oil trading operation in Singapore, Taylor grew the company on the back of a boom in paper trading as a hedge against physical deals as global trade and integration expanded.
“Every country has to buy and sell oil,” Taylor told the Financial Times in 2018. “You know the numbers: a billion people are still not on electricity around the world; 3 billion who still cook on stoves and dung, wood and charcoal. There’s a tremendous amount bluntly yet to be done.”
From 40 offices worldwide, privately held Vitol traded 8 million b/d crude and products last year with $225 billion in revenues. It supplies over 3.8 million b/d of crude and feedstocks to the global refining industry and estimates that 250 ships are transporting its cargoes of oil, fuel, LNG and coal at sea at any one time.
Vitol also has stakes in six oil refineries with a total refining capacity of 480,000 b/d and in thousands of fuel pumps globally through direct ownership or joint ventures.
“Ian was an exceptional man. He combined energy and a determination to succeed with humility, humor and humanity. He challenged all of us to be the best we could be,” Vitol’s current CEO Russell Hardy said in a statement. “We owe him a great deal.”
Vitol is a top five participant by reported activity in almost every S&P Global Platts Market on Close price assessment process around the world. As an example, Vitol in 2018 was a counterparty to the first trade ever reported through the Platts LNG MOC process, the most recent MOC launched by the price reporting agency.
Martin Fraenkel, president of Platts said Taylor “had a unique influence on the development of modern commodities trading.”
Taylor, who had been battling with bouts of cancer for years, died from pneumonia, Vitol said.
Source: Marine and Petroleum