Marathon Petroleum Corp, the largest fuelmaker in the US, is opening a small office in London, according to people familiar with the matter.
The office’s focus will be on trading diesel-type fuel, possibly including jet fuel, the people said. There is currently no plan for crude oil.
Marathon’s decision was likely driven, at least in part, by upcoming European Union sanctions on Russia that will all but cut the continent off from its single biggest external diesel supplier.
The US refiner regularly sells oil products for export, including from its Garyville and Galveston Bay refineries on the Gulf Coast, according to its 2021 annual report. It may be looking to ramp up fuel sales into Europe, helping to fill the void left by Russian barrels.
The EU’s sanctions on Russia – which ban seaborne imports of refined petroleum from early next year – are set to redraw the global map of trade flows for diesel and at least some other oil products. Europe, already in the midst of an energy crunch as winter approaches, will need to replace Russian supplies with barrels from other regions.
The US regularly exports oil products to Europe, though its current supplies to the continent are far smaller than those from Russia or the Middle East.
Marathon did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.