Oil Trader Trafigura Government Payments Fall to $14 Billion

  • Payments to NOCs fall 24% in 2015 on pullback from Nigeria
  • Trafigura is only major oil trader to disclose information

Trafigura Group disclosed $14.2 billion in payments to governments in 2015, a 24 percent drop from the year before, as lower oil prices and sharply curtailed business with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. reduced spending.

For the first time, the figure included payments to all countries where the trading house does business, and not just those that are members of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a voluntary disclosure standard seeking to publish payments made by resource companies to governments in an effort to root out corruption.

Trafigura is the only major trader that has disclosed how much it pays governments for oil purchases. After joining the EITI initiative in 2015, it urged other trading houses including Vitol Group, Glencore Plc, Gunvor Group and the in-house trading arms of major producers such as BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc to follow suit in disclosing their oil-trading related government payments. None have.

Trafigura said it purchased $915 million of oil or petroleum products in 2015 from EITI members countries, a 70 percent drop from the $3 billion paid the year before. That was mostly because the volume of crude swapped for oil products with Nigeria’s national oil company fell to about 844,200 barrels in 2015 from about 38 million barrels the year before.

Trafigura also revealed payments to non-EITI countries of $12.7 billion in 2015, down from $14.9 billion in 2014.

The decision to disclose the aggregate total of payments to non-EITI countries “provides further context and demonstrates the challenge ahead in broadening existing EITI coverage,” Trafigura Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Weir said in the report.

The total $14.2 billion in government payments by Trafigura represents about 14 percent of the trader’s 2015 revenue of $97.2 billion. Trafigura, which reported net income of $1.1 billion in 2015, makes money by buying, storing, blending and transporting commodities to sell to customers around the world.

Oil Purchases

The company also declared $545 million in oil purchases during 2015 from EITI-member national oil companies loaded at ports outside of EITI nations, which include Colombia, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Norway, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago.

Trafigura, Vitol, Gunvor and Mercuria Energy Group all have major trading operations in Geneva. While the Swiss government has welcomed Trafigura’s move to disclose payments under the EITI, it has said it won’t force other trading houses to do so.

Trafigura quit the Swiss Trading and Shipping Association earlier this year, saying it would be better positioned to pursue the initiatives promoting transparency outside the industry lobby group.

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