Friday, December 14, 2018
Ivan Glasenberg

Ivan Glasenberg


TAKING a contrarian view, as all good traders do, Glasenberg has become more active in oil markets in the last couple of years. Glencore has done some shrewd deals in countries where other traders might regard the risks as too high. In Russia, Glencore bought and then sold its stake in Rosneft, but retained the right to trade 220,000 barrels/day of Rosneft’s oil. Glasenberg was awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship for his role in Rosneft’s privatisation. In South Africa, Glencore suddenly emerged in October as the buyer of Chevron’s local assets for just under $1bn – despite the announcement of their sale to Sinopec six months earlier. Whether the Chevron deal had any connection to either the fracas between Glencore and Eskom in 2016 over the Optimum coal mine supply contract, or Glencore’s role as one of the three buyers of South Africa’s 10m barrels of strategic oil reserves, is unclear. Glasenberg said he preferred downstream to upstream at present. It has not all been smooth sailing, however. In Chad, Glencore has spent months trying to negotiate repayment terms with the cash-strapped government for the $1.45bn loan extended in 2014. Glasenberg’s patience must have been sorely strained by the government’s diversion to ExxonMobil of a large portion of the oil Glencore should have been marketing. But Glasenberg is more than a match for the government of Chad – or any government it would seem.


After qualifying as a chartered accountant and completing his MBA, Glasenberg, who was brought up in South Africa, joined Swiss-based oil trader Marc Rich & Co as a coal trader in 1984. Marc Rich became Glencore in 1994 after a management buyout and today Glasenberg is among the world’s richest men, with an estimated wealth of almost $6bn.