A final key theme of the meeting’s discussions was the role of traders in the downstream industry. The Board highlighted that in a profit-driven sector, it would be wise for traditional refining players not to write off traders as a short-term threat. As niche players, traders can invest time and resources into honing their operations, meaning that the trading arms of major downstream operators can learn from their tactics.
There was also discussion about the international balancing act that major refiners face – is it better to invest in assets in growth markets, or to focus on those regions as export destinations? In some cases, the answer may be to combine the two. In any case, the perception is that momentum in the trading space is increasing, and will certainly be a topic of interest in Bahrain next January.