A small pawn in the game

The tank facility which exploded in Sløvåg was only a small pawn in a worldwide trade with low quality gasoline. The commodity trader Trafigura was behind the shady production of gasoline bound for West Africa.

Andrei Makarov i Trafigura

Andrei Makorov in Trafigura.

NRK Brennpunkt shows how Trafigura refines coker gasoline into low quality gasoline.

This is a process which is supposed to take place in a refinery to ensure that the gasoline gains an acceptable quality. The gasoline Trafigura dispatched to Africa was of such poor quality that it is illegal to sell in Europe. Trafigura has repeatedly been invited to take part in the programme, but they have not wished to participate.

Trafigura has formerly been linked to a major pollution scandal in the Ivory Coast.

Waste from the tanker Probo Koala ended up on the open rubbish dumps in Abidjan and is suspected of causing 100.000 people to fall ill and 15 to die. The waste stemmed from the slop tanks of Probo Koala, a residue product from the desulphurization of coker gasoline taking place on board the ship. The owner of the cargo was Trafigura. It was the same process which was carried out for Trafigura at the Sløvåg facility. In addition, they brought in a shipment of similar waste from another vessel, Probo Emu.

But waste was exported from Sløvåg as well. One of the ships carried 30.000 tons of gasoline which Trafigura had purchased in England. In Sløvåg, she collected 5.400 tons of residue waste from the desulphurization business. Brennpunkt has seen documents confirming that these cargoes were mixed. Subsequently, Ottavia sailed for West Africa. Trafigura refrains from commenting on this as well. Export of waste from Europe to developing countries is strictly prohibited.

Trafigura is the world’s third largest independent oil trader. According to their own figures, last year’s turnover was 51 billion dollars.


The company has 1500 employees in 35 countries. For tax reasons, the company headquarters are situated in Amsterdam, but the real leadership sits in London.

Whereas the ownership is based in the Swiss town of Zug. The company is organized in such a way that it is impossible to gain access to their accounts.

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