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Timchenko’s Gunvor Thrives As Gas Prices Rise in Europe

Posted on the 22 February 2012 by Kevinlaw

Energy trader Gennady Timchenko, head of Geneva-based Gunvor Group, has his work cut out for him this year as Europe sees gasoline prices soar to new highs among fears of European economic destabilization.

Bloomberg on February 1, 2012 reported that gasoline was at a four-month high while jet fuel premiums climbed for the first time in a week. The rising price of gasoil may or may not be here to stay, analysts speculate. Just days ago, European gasoline barge prices had weakened and were down by about 1.9 percent (around $994 to $995 a tonne) following outages at various refineries, according to news sources. Hovensa LLC moved to close its refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Petroplus Holdings saw reduced and stopped runs at five of its refineries. The outages were speculated to account for the boost in refining profits.

America has witnessed heightened tensions in the oil industry in recent weeks. U.S. oil refinery workers have been threatening to strike—which traders fear could close 6 percent of America’s refinery capacity. The current situation in America with possible refinery closures seems to be yet another hurdle the industry has overcome—so far. By agreeing to a new three-year contract, the United Steelworkers union and Royal Dutch Shell Plc avoided a labor strike that would have closed around 70 refineries. 

Gennady Timchenko and Torbjorn Tornqvist, co-founders of Gunvor, have seen—and surpassed—turbulent markets such as these before. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that BP’s well blew out in the Gulf, resulting in an environmental disaster as millions of gallons of oil flowed into the ocean and washed ashore.  

Adroit at navigating fluctuating markets, Gunvor is not Gennady Timchenko’s only successful business venture. The Finnish energy trader also co-heads publicly traded Novatek with Leonid Mikhelson.  Gennady Timchenko and Leonid Mikhelson recently announced tentative plans to try and boost the capacity of liquefied natural gas production in the Arctic Yamal region, in partnership with Total SA, among others.


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