(Adds background, Vitol spokeswoman's comment, details)
By Ron Bousso and Jessica Donati
LONDON, March 13 Vitol, the world's largest oil
trading house, has been barred by pricing agency Platts from its
daily European "window" naphtha trading session after failing to
deliver on time some of the oil product that it had sold,
A ban from the window - a 30 minute session where market
participants conduct trades that are visible to all - does not
prevent a company from trading outside it but significantly
reduces a trader's clout in the market.
A spokeswoman for Vitol said on Wednesday that just one
naphtha cargo had been delayed, without commenting further.
Platts said it would not comment on specific names of
companies it deals with.
"From time to time we do review the participation of
companies in our assessment processes," Platts said.
"We never confirm the names of the companies under review.
But you can see the list of the participants in the window each
day," said Dave Ernsberger, Platts Global Editorial Director.
The Swiss trading house, which assumed a pivotal role over
the past year in Europe's physical market for naphtha - an oil
product used for blending into gasoline or to make plastics -
abruptly disappeared from the Platts window after Feb. 21.
It has since been absent.
According to several naphtha traders who do business with
Vitol, Platts suspended Vitol from trading in the window around
two weeks ago, after it failed to deliver some cargoes on time.
Trader sources said it was unclear how long the ban would
remain in place.
Two traders said the number of delayed cargoes was near 15.
None of the traders said that their own companies had been
directly affected by the cargo delays.
The delays had led buyers to complain to Vitol and in some
cases to suspend further trading with it, according to traders.
Vitol had revenues of more than $300 billion in 2012 and
naphtha represents a small portion of its trading portfolio.
The company continues to trade crude oil and other products
in the Platts windows.
Vitol became the most active buyer on the naphtha market in
2012 before switching to selling in the second half of January.
Its buying and then selling helped to influence prices of
naphtha, traders said.
It sold around half of the 30 naphtha cargoes traded during
the window between Feb. 1 and Feb. 21, and a higher volume in
Naphtha cargoes traded during the Platts window are
typically around 12,500 tonnes. Vitol sold a cargo on Feb. 21 at
$995 a tonne.
At around the time of its big selling campaign in Europe,
Vitol bought a cargo of around 330,000 barrels shipped by a
European refiner to the New York region and then, in a highly
unusual move, turned it back to Europe.
One trader said this was done to meet earlier commitments.
(Additional reporting by Simon Falush, Peg Mackey, Claire
Milhench, Julia Payne in London, Jessica Jaganathan in
Singapore; Editing by Anthony Barker)