Minerva Bunkering CEO Sees Sales Volumes Grow in Shrinking Market

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Tuesday May 5, 2020

Minerva Bunkering's marine fuel sales volumes have risen from last year's levels despite the ongoing economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CEO Tyler Baron.

In April the company was awarded its licence to be a physical supplier in Singapore, which it hopes to start using early this month, and it hopes its expansion there and to other parts of the world will allow it to continue growing its volumes even as the global total declines.

"We are continuing to grow from last year in spite of the market shrinking," Baron said in an interview with Ship & Bunker last week.

"Obviously we're in the midst of a significant readjustment due to macroeconomic forces, but our volumes are continuing to grow as we both expand the network and gain market share in existing locations."

The analysis produced by Ship & Bunker and SeaCred last year on the world's top ten bunker suppliers put Minerva's volumes at about 12 million mt in 2019.

Moving Beyond Aegean

Minerva is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mercuria Energy Group, and was a back-to-back trader previously before being restructured to include the assets that Mercuria took on in its purchase of Aegean Marine Petroleum last year after its Chapter 11 process.

The restructuring and integration process was largely completed by last fall," Baron said.

"We had the benefit of having a rather firm deadline to get all of the integration work behind us, which was preparing for IMO 2020 and being positioned to help our customer base through the transition."

Minerva already has some significant differences to its predecessor, with its headquarters now in Switzerland, while Aegean was listed in New York and had its roots in Greece.

"The new Minerva is a very different company," Baron said.

"It wasn't just repurposing Aegean, it was really the integration of two different teams and business models and building the new company upon the solid foundation of the Mercuria organization."

Expansion Plans

Mercuria's deep pockets and its presence in the oil cargo trading business give Minerva the opportunity to build a larger presence in the global bunker markets.

"Our goal is to build the leading physical supply network, complemented by a trading business to add breadth and density globally," Baron said.

"We're leveraging a vertically integrated supply chain and the industry's largest portfolio of bunkering-dedicated assets, combined with the balance sheet strength and corporate infrastructure of Mercuria."

As well as Minerva's new physical operation in Singapore, Baron noted recent expansions in Tanger Med, Panama and Fujairah as helping the company to grow.

"We will continue to broaden the physical network," he said.

"With the advent of IMO 2020 there have been real changes in the supply and demand patterns of fuel oil, which creates new opportunities where we think we can leverage our global integrated supply chain, our portfolio of fixed assets and our team's skillsets to open up additional locations."