By Julia Payne
LONDON (Reuters) -Global energy trader Vitol Group smashed its previous records by making more profit in the first half of this year than in the whole of last year, people familiar with the matter said.
Sources with knowledge of the results said the trading firm made close to $4.5 billion in the first six months of the year. Last year, Vitol posted a record $4.2 billion net profit for the full year and traded 7.6 million barrels per day of oil and nearly 13 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
A spokesperson for Vitol declined to comment.
Commodity trading houses and oil majors have been cashing in on skyrocketing gas prices, jumping oil prices and the extreme turmoil in commodities and energy supply chains caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Large and nimble trading firms thrive in volatile environments and regional imbalances while integrated oil companies saw the value of their crude, gas and refining output soar.
Gas prices have been rising since the end of last year due to tight global supplies and soared to eye-watering records on fears, later realised, that Russia would cut off Europe's gas supplies. The European gas price is up 400% versus a year ago and an average sized LNG cargo is now worth four times more compared with mid-2021.
Last month, Russia shut the key Nord Stream gas pipeline to Germany blaming disruptions caused by Western sanctions. Only the Yamal-Europe pipeline via Ukraine is still operating at a reduced rate.
(Reporting by Julia PayneEditing by Tomasz Janowski and Jonathan Oatis)