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Vitol B.V.
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Quick Facts
Headquarters (Benelux Organization)Rotterdam, Netherlands
Year of Origin1966
Emissions (All Scopes)8,7 Megatons of CO2 (2020)
NCI assessmentVery low
Total Revenue140 billion USD (2020)
Stock ExchangeNone, private
Key PeopleRussel Hardy (CEO)
Number of Employees1500
  • Arawak Energy (UK)
  • Cockett Marine Oil (UK)
  • OVH Energy (Nigeria)
  • Valt (Switzerland)
  • Varo Energy (Switzerland)
  • Ventspils Nafta Group (Latvia)
  • Vitol Aviation (UK)
  • Viva Energy (Australia)
  • Vivo Energy (Netherlands)
  • VPI Immingham (UK)
  • VTTI (Netherlands)

Vitol B.V., stylized as Vitol, was founded in 1966 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and been employee-owned since inception. [1] Vitol is active in commodity trading, energy production, refinement and logistics. Vitol serves retail markets as well as wholesale traders. [2] Vitol employs over 7000 service stations worldwide, being geographically represented on every continent. [3] This includes countries under UN restrictions, wartorn countries and otherwise sketchy areas of business. [4] Vitol employs around 1400 to 1500 people worldwide. [5] Vitol is owned by circa 450 employees, with no one shareholder holding more than 5%. [6] Many of these employees have gotten incredibly wealthy from granted dividend over the years, creating a special form of loyalty to the company. Vitol is a very private company, preferably operating under the radar. ‘’Whenever Vitol makes headlines, they are bad headlines’’. [7] Vitol’s turnover in 2021 was 279 billion US Dollars worldwide. [8] Little more than 1 billion dollars is invested in renewable projects. [9] On a daily basis, over 7 million barrels of crude oil and products are traded by Vitol. [10] While the company was founded in Rotterdam, it operates out of London and it is headquartered in Switzerland, which allows Vitol to sidestep European Union rules on issues such as sanctions. [11]

Company Structure

Vitol’s holding company is incorporated in the Netherlands where Vitol was founded in 1966. Since inception, Vitol has been employee-owned. Today it is owned by circa 450 employees, with no one shareholder holding more than 5%. [12], [13]

The legal name of Vitol is Vitol Netherlands Coöperatief U.A. [14] This company is registered in Rotterdam since 2018 and has one daughter company, which is Vitol Holding B.V. This is a financial holding registered at the same address in Rotterdam. Both the mother and daughter company have an undisclosed natural person as functionary. Vitol Holding B.V. has nine daughter companies: Vitol Chemicals B.V., Vitol Insurance B.V., Vitol Africa B.V., Vitol FSU B.V., Vitol Refining Group B.V., Vitol Finance B.V., Vitol B.V., Vitol Tuban Finance B.V. and Vitol Renewables B.V. [15] All of these companies are registered at the same address and employ little to no activities and therefore seem to be merely financial vehicles. Exception is Vitol B.V., that has 13 daughter companies. On this particular address 135 companies are registered, and all of them seem to have a link with one of the Vitol branches. [16]

According to banktracker, besides the in Rotterdam registered companies and holdings, there are more subsidiaries. These are at least Cockett marine Oil (UK), OVH Energy (Nigeria), Valt (Switzerland), Varo Energy (Switzerland), Ventspils Nafta Group (Latvia), Vitol Aviation (UK), Viva Energy (Australia), Vivo Energy (Netherlands) and VPI Immingham (UK) [17] Vitol is also coowner of Arawak Energy, active in Russia and several former soviet-countries, and VTTI. A joint venture between Vitol and a Malaysian company which owns giant storage tankers worldwide. [18]


Vitol is led by a board and management team, headed up by CEO, Russell Hardy. [19]

According to a French online contact database, the following names form the executives of Vitol. [20] However, Ian Taylor is on this website still mentioned as chairman. Vitol published in a statement that he died in 2020, so the information might be outdated. [21]

Executive Board
Name Function Remuneration x1000 EUR
Russel Hardy [22] Chief Executive Officer At least 6130 [23]
Board of Directors
Name Function Remuneration x1000 EUR
Rick Evans [24] Chief Financial Officer & Treasury At least 6130 [25]
Max Bulk [26] Chief Operations Officer At least 6130 [27]
Pablo Galante Escobar [28] LNG Trading At least 6130 [29]
Anara Kairbek [30] Human Resources At least 6130 [31]
Ben Marshall [32] Member At least 6130 [33]
Management Board
Name Function Remuneration x1000 EUR
Robert Abbott [34] Treasury At least 6130 [35]
Genevieve Arnold [36] Finance At least 6130 [37]
Simon Hale [38] Investment At least 6130 [39]
Steve Brann [40] Investment At least 6130 [41]
Brian Jones [42] Operations At least 6130 [43]

Supervisory Board

The supervisory board of Vitol is not mentioned on the website, nor can it be found online. To ensure governance, Vitol has a shareholder representative elected by non-board members who participates in board meetings and communicates decisions to the wider group. [44]

According to Financial Times, regular remuneration of employees was 1,23 billion USD (1,08 billion EUR) in 2019. This was shared among 2480 employees. Vitol spend 2,2 billion USD (1,93 billion EUR) on buying back shares in the same year. In 2021 however, Vitol has paid a record 2,9 billion USD (2,54 billion EUR) to its executives and staff through share buybacks. Share buybacks is the main way of rewarding the 400 share-owning top employees of the company. This means that top executives and staff received a remuneration of at least 7,125 million USD (6,13 million EUR) each in 2021. [45][46]


As there are no publicly available annual reports or financial statements, it is not possible to determine the accountant of Vitol. It is however mentioned in the ESG report of Vitol that the emission data is calculated by PwC (formally known as PricewaterhouseCoopers). [47]

Main Activities

Vitol entered the coal market in 2006, and partners with, funds or owns mines in the United States, Indonesia, Canada, South Africa and Russia.[48] Vitol’s core business is trading energy products such as crude oil, petroleum products, LNG, natural gas, LPG, power, renewable credits and other environmental products such as carbon credits. Vitol is active in commodity trading, energy production, refinement and logistics. Vitol serves retail markets as well as wholesale traders. [49] The activities of Vitol are spread out over a complex array of companies, subsidiaries, daughter companies and holdings. [50]


Vitol did not receive NOW support during corona times. [51] Vitol does not have royal status. [52] Vitol has reportedly invested more than a billion USD in renewable energy. [53] In comparison, their yearly revenue was 140 billion USD in 2020. [54]

Paris Agreement until Today

There is no information on environmental or emission developments since 2015. For many topics regarding to emissions, Vitol only started reporting them in 2020 or 2021 for the first time. It is however known that over 11 billion USD have been spend on share buybacks since 2015. [55]

Financial Results since 2015

This table shows the financial data of Vitol since 2015. Vitol is incredibly wealthy and has plenty of money to make their operations more sustainable.

Financial situation
Year Revenue Profit Dividend
2015 168 billion USD [56] 1,6 billion USD[57] 0,8 billion USD [58]
2016 152 billion USD [59] 2,1 billion USD [60] 1,1 billion USD [61]
2017 181 billion USD [62] 1,5 billion USD [63] 1,6 billion USD [64]
2018 231 billion USD [65] 1,7 billion USD [66] 1 billion USD [67]
2019 225 billion USD [68] 2,4 billion USD [69] 2,3 billion USD [70]
2020 140 billion USD [71] 3,2 billion USD [72] 2,0 billion USD [73]
2021 279 billion USD [8] 4 billion USD [74] 2,9 billion USD [75]

Vitol has paid its partners over 19 billion in the past 17 years. [76]

Current Emissions

According to the first Environmental, Social and Governance report of Vitol, in 2020 the emissions in all scopes were 8,7 mtonnes in 2020, contrasting 7,9 mtonnes in 2019. It is being stated that the scope 3 emissions are preliminary. [77] Vitol reports a ‘’proportional share’’ of downstream emissions of externally sold fossil fuels. [78] This seems unlikely, seen that the number of barrels traded is over 8 million a day. [79]

Vitol recognises the importance of reporting scope 3 emissions in full, but more time is needed to improve the accuracy of our data set. Full scope 3 data will be reported for the categories outlined in Table 1 in the 2021 ESG report. [80]

Climate Plans

Vitol’s portfolio of trading products and energy investments is evolving to include more transitional or ‘new energy’ green elements. However, no targets are given.

Vitol’s approach to climate change and the energy transition is the following:

  • (1) Improving footprint accuracy and establishing incentives
  • (2) Reducing Vitol’s GHG footprint
  • (3) Growing low-carbon/ green opportunities
  • (4) Reporting and communicating [81]

No targets on CO2 emissions for 2030 or 2050 are found in the public reports of Vitol.

NewClimate Institute (NCI) Report

Due Diligence

Due Diligence

Human rights

Bread for All, Bench Marks Foundation released a report that assessed the human rights approach of Vitol against the criteria of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Vitol's website does not reference to or mentions any international human rights standards. In addition, there is no information provided on a human rights policy or measures for implementing a human rights policy, such as a human rights due diligence process, or on remedy mechanisms, such as complaints mechanisms. "Regarding implementation of CSR, Human Rights or transparency policies, it should also be noted that Vitol is not member of any of the existing sector or multi-stakeholder initiatives". Vitol is, however, a member of the Working Group for the development of guidance for the implementation of the UNGPs for the commodity trading sector in Switzerland. This initiative was launched in June 2015 by the Swiss government.[82][83] With regard to human rights, it should also be mentioned that Vitol has been involved in a number of scandals revolving involvement with countries with controversial regimes.[48]

Scandals and controversies

In 2001, an investigation by The Observer revealed that in 1995 Vitol signed a deal with a Serbian company, Orion, to sell thousands of tonnes of oil to the former Yugoslavia. Bob Finch, director of Vitol, paid $1 million to the Serbian war criminal Arkan, thereby using him as a 'fixer' after a controversial oil deal in the former Yugoslavia collapsed. [84] UN-imposed sanctions in 1992 made it illegal to supply oil to Serbia. Vitol insists that the oil was delivered only after sanctions were suspended and that there was therefore no illegal conduct involved in the transaction. [85]

In 2007, Vitol pleaded guilty to grand larceny in a New York court for paying subcharges to Iraq's national oil company during Saddam Hussein's regime, thereby undermining the UN oil-for-food program in Iraq. Vitol subsequently paid $17.5 million in restitution for its actions. [86]

In April 2011, Vitol organized the first controversial sale of Libyan rebel oil to Tesoro Corporation. According to the Financial Times, Vitol was approached by the Qatari national oil company to sell a cargo of crude oil supplied by the Libyans in exchange for technological supplies and fuel for the National Transitional Council of Libya. [87][88]

In September 2012, an article in Reuters claimed that Vitol had bought and sold Iranian fuel oil, undermining Western efforts to choke the flow of petrodollars to Tehran and put pressure on Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program. Vitol bought 2 million barrels of fuel oil, used for power generation, from Iran and sold it to Chinese traders. A Vitol has Swiss status and Switzerland decided not to match EU and US sanctions against Tehran, the company skirted charges. [89]

In 2013, the Telegraph revealed that for a decade Vitol had been using Employee Benefit Trusts which avoided income tax for its UK staff. Vitol was in discussion with HMRC about a deal to pay this off.[90][91]

In 2018, the Dispute Settlement and Sanctions Committee of CRE, the French Energy Regulatory Commission, fined Vitol S.A. €5 million for breaching rules laid down in the European Regulation of October 25 2011 on wholesale energy market integrity and transparency (REMIT Regulation). Between June 1 2013 and March 31 2014, Vitol S.A. engaged in market manipulation on the French Southern virtual Gas Trading Point ("PEG Sud").[92] Vitol appealed this decision, but the French Council of State confirmed the sanction in June 2021. [93][94]

In December 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice said that Vitol Group's U.S. subsidiary agreed to pay a combined total criminal penalty of $135 million to resolve charges by the U.S. government that the company paid bribes in Brazil and other countries to boost its oil trading business.[95] Brazilian authorities received $45 million from the criminal penalty of $135 million and Vitol also paid back the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) over $12.7 million in ill-gotten gains, plus $16 million in fines. The U.S. Department of Justice said that Vitol and its co-conspirators paid over $8 million to at least four Petrobras officials between 2005 and 2014.[95][96]


Vitol is a leading company in its field. It has a fairly unique governance and ownership structure. Due to its private nature, not much is known about Vitol. Vitol is not listed on a stock exchange and Vitol does not publish annual reports. Despite all the claims Vitol makes, less than 0,75% of their annual revenue is invested in renewable projects. Vitol has been discredited in the press many times in the recent past. This was due to business done with dictators, through dubious schemes or through bribery.

It is suspected that the reported emissions of Vitol are not in line with their traded volumes, and their climate plans are vague and without concrete numerical targets. Targets for 2030 and 2050 are lacking altogether. Vitol is therefore not in line with the goals from the Paris Agreement of 2015.


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