Oil-trading giant Vitol eyes shale expansion with new venture

Lucia Kassai 2/2/2022

(Bloomberg) — Vitol Group, the world’s largest independent oil trader, is partnering with shale specialists who formerly led Brigham Exploration Co. to expand amid the highest crude prices in seven years. 

The trader and Austin, Texas-based driller ATX Energy Partners LLC formed VTX Energy Partners LLC to acquire wells in the Permian and Bakken shale regions, according to a statement on Wednesday. Former Brigham finance chief Gene Shepherd will be chief executive. 

“The VTX partnership underscores our continued interest in growing our upstream portfolio in the U.S. Lower 48,” Ben Marshall, the head of Vitol Americas, said in the statement. 

VTX will “complement” Vitol’s existing Permian explorer Vencer Energy, Marshall said.

Vitol, which gets most of its $140 billion in annual revenue from commodities trading, also holds oil and natural gas assets in Latin America and West Africa, where it produces the equivalent of about 65,000 barrels a day, according to its website. The trader is the latest to announce investments in the U.S. shale as some producers gear up to bolster output this year. 

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