oil traders

Oil & Gas

Oil traders hire tanks on tiny Island to profit from global glut

To see how oil traders are profiting from the longest-lasting glut in three decades, look at the tiny Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Glencore Plc hired tanks at the island’s only oil terminal to stow crude, joining Vitol Group, people familiar with the matter said last week. They’re responding to the market’s deepening contango, a situation where prices today are lower than those in future months, allowing traders with access to storage to lock in a profit. From St. Lucia to South Africa to Rotterdam, they’re seizing the opportunity. “Contango opportunities are emerging,” Ian Taylor, chief executive officer of Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil trader, said in an interview earlier this month. While the oil market has been in contango since August 2014, in the last month prices have moved in a direction that makes the trade more profitable. The price difference between a Brent oil contract for immediate delivery, the global benchmark, and one-year forward stood at minus $7.82 a barrel on Tuesday, more than double its level in mid-July.