Vitol unloads Texas shale interests

Sunoco Logistics takes on what it sees as one of the best opportunities in the United States.

By Daniel J. Graeber

HOUSTON, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Global energy trader Vitol said it was leaving Texas shale in good hands following a sale of its holdings to pipeline operator Sunoco Logistics.

"Sunoco Logistics has a strong strategic position in West Texas and we are confident that they will provide excellent service to customers of the Vitol system," Mike Loya, head of the Vitol's division in the Americas, said in a statement. "We wish Sunoco Logistics well in the further development of the business."


Vitol said it unloaded its crude oil system tied to the Permian shale basin in Texas for about $760 million. For Sunoco, the deal gives it access to a terminal and associated pipeline infrastructure with a capacity of about 2 million barrels of crude oil.

The Dutch trader in early 2016 warned market conditions meant an "extremely" cautious approach to business operations was needed. Lower crude oil prices have hurt energy companies across the board and for Vitol, a full-year 2015 revenue of $168 billion represented a 38 percent decline from the previous year, when oil was trading above the $100 per barrel mark.

In the refining side of the business, the company said it was managing the downturn adequately, but saw lingering risks in terms of a slowdown in global growth, largely on the back of a leveling Chinese economy.


Vitol added the acquisition gives Sunoco access to acreage in the Permian basin in Texas.

"The Permian basin is the most prolific of all of the U.S. shale areas with strong growth expectations," Sunoco CEO Michael Hennigan said in a statement. "The Vitol pipeline assets are located in what we believe are the three best counties in the Midland Basin [where Permian shale is situated]."

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