According to Bloomberg, Equinor filled oil tankers with crude, turning them into floating storage facilities, and put even more barrels into onshore tanks elsewhere.
The trade, known as a contango play, along with other oil trading activity delivered a record of around $1 billion in pre-tax adjusted earnings in a single quarter.
This pattern is likely to be repeated throughout the industry. Namely, refineries and filling stations, Shell, BP Plc and Total SA also run huge in-house oil trading businesses that dwarf independent commodity trading houses. In particular, Shell made huge amounts of money on its jet-fuel book.
In addition, the trading units of Shell, BP and Total handle over 25 million barrels a day of crude and refined products.
The independent traders also experienced a bumper period. In faxt, Glencore, made almost $1 billion in earnings before interest and taxes in oil trading in the first six months of 2020.
Finally, other independent oil traders, such as Trafigura Group, Mercuria Energy Group Ltd and Gunvor Group, have already announced bumper trading results.