Vitol’s Petrol Ofisi has agreed to buy BP Plc’s gas station operations in Turkey, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
Vitol, the world’s biggest independent oil trader, raises its bet on downstream assets by adding to what is already the country’s largest fueling network, Bloomberg said.
Vitol’s subsidiary will expand its Turkish retail network by 770 stations to more than 2,700 sites. The deal, which the companies expect to gain regulatory approval in 2024, also includes BP’s share of the ATAS Anadolu Tasfiyehanesi oil terminal. The terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.
It’s the latest example of commodity trading houses channeling huge profits made on the back of recent energy-market volatility into assets that should bolster their margins for years to come. For Vitol, the deal extends its bet on emerging market demand for gasoline, even as the auto sector in the US and Europe pivots to electric vehicles.
Earlier this year, the company bought a majority stake in South Africa’s Engen Ltd. and will merge the company with its Vivo Energy business that operates across sub-Saharan Africa. In Australia, it is the largest shareholder of Viva Energy, which operates Shell-branded retail sites as well as an oil refinery.
“With its young population and potential for growth,” we believe in Turkey’s future, Vitol executive board member Chris Bake, who is also chair of Petrol Ofisi, said in a statement.
The ATAS terminal stake also gives the trader additional weight in regional oil markets; Vitol is a substantial buyer of crude that arrives in the Black Sea via the CPC pipeline.
BP said in a separate statement that the decision followed a strategic review of its fuels business in Turkey, without elaborating. BP’s other operations in Turkey, including Castrol, the BTC and TANAP pipelines, aren’t part of the deal.