Statement in Response to the Washington Post article of 21st August 2008
The article states that “by June 6…Vitol had acquired a huge holding in oil contracts, betting prices would rise. The contracts were equal to 57.7 million barrels of oil.” It goes on to say that crude prices spiked $11 that day.
This description of Vitol’s position and its implied relation to oil price movements is fundamentally incorrect.
The Vitol Group’s net crude futures position on the main international exchanges on 6th of June was in fact short eleven million barrels. This short position reflects the Group’s extensive use of the exchanges for managing price risk on the physical oil it supplies, as is standard practice throughout the oil industry.
The Vitol Group regularly ships over four million barrels of physical crude oil and petroleum products each day to international markets.