The fact that Nigeria is considering prepayment deals with traders these deals is significant. It reflects how countries that are highly dependent on oil income are taking extraordinary measures to maintain stability while oil prices are relatively low.
Saudi Arabia’s plans to buy and sell third-party crude prompt concerns about how widely Aramco will expand its trading apparatus and how it will use its market power.
Big merchant traders like Vitol, Trafigura, and Glencore are expected to aggressively explore opportunities to grow in order to diversify their asset and customer bases and mitigate risk.
The oil merchants have typically resorted to operating in the shadows of the markets, exploiting opportunities under the radar, as they moved cargoes from a point of surplus to a point of deficit. But recently, they have become more open and transparent about their financial status, their outlooks on oil prices, and their operations across commodity markets.