On Tuesday 17 August Vitol contributed to the California Energy Commission’s inquiry into gasoline prices following an incident at the Torrance refinery in February 2015, then owned by ExxonMobil. Regrettably, Vitol’s comments to the Commission have been misrepresented. To clarify:
Vitol pointed out that it is a significant commercial risk to bring in additional cargoes when it is unclear when the refinery will restart and whether there will be demand for those cargoes.
There was a lack of clarity regarding the restart date for the refinery.
Vitol has never suggested the lack of clarity was the responsibility of ExxonMobil, nor that ExxonMobil mislead the market. In addition to the resolution of technical issues, restarting a refinery requires approvals from the relevant regulatory agencies. It is therefore impossible for any refiner to accurately determine a restart date, until it is in possession of all the relevant regulatory approvals.