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Oil, commodities trader Trafigura seeks to grow US crude exports

London — Swiss-based commodity trader Trafigura is seeking to grow its position in exporting crude oil in the US after its global traded volumes jumped by 7.5% this year.

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In the year to September 30 the company's traded oil and refined product volumes climbed to 275.2 million mt, from 256 million mt a year earlier. Gross profit for the division sank by 10% to $1.022 billion.

Backwardation in oil prices this year "prompted a major overhaul of our trading books to shrink inventories and storage commitments, and reduce costs," the company said in its annual report Monday.

The company is now seeking to grow its presence in US markets to take advantage of growing exports in 2019.

"Our US footprint continues to evolve positively in tandem with the rise in shale oil production," Trafigura said in the report. "The current wave of investment in infrastructure to expand the flow of crude from the US offers tremendous opportunities for the future, and we intend to participate to the fullest extent possible in moving US oil to export markets."

Trafigura is an anchor tenant in the Cactus II pipeline from the Permian to Corpus Christi, which it expects to come online late next year. In its annual report it said it also hopes to construct a new US offshore export facility capable of loading VLCCs, subject to licenses being granted.

Crude saw the biggest growth in the company's traded volumes this year, jumping by 18.3% to 122.6 million mt.

Meanwhile its fuel oil trading sank by 7.2% to 41.1 million mt as global supply tightened ahead of the International Maritime Organization's lower sulfur emission limit for shipping in 2020.

Trafigura has merged its fuel oil and middle distillates teams ahead of 2020 "to facilitate a more integrated approach," it said. The company has also set up an in-house bunkering team to manage its own fleet's fuel requirements.

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--Edited by Maurice Geller,