Best in class thanks to its ability in refining 40 different kinds of crude oil, to achieve the best quality fuel. Under Gianmarco Moratti's leadership, his family’s oil business has become a flourishing giant in a chaotic market

Gian Marco Moratti

Gian Marco Moratti

«Don’t ask me predictions about oil prices. My 60 years and eight months in the industry have taught me that it’s impossible to make prognoses about oil and the dollar». Gian Marco Moratti’s family have been in the oil business for generations and he is now Chairman of the Saras refinery. He has used his experience and clarity of mind to make the company a flourishing giant in a chaotic market.

«Our world is so closely tied to international politics that there’s hardly anything that we can predict or rule out. Nonetheless, my company currently has a very positive outlook». People have been saying for years that there is a global overcapacity in refining, «but they were all theoretical estimates», said Moratti. «Meanwhile, a Ubs report has just come out that shows, for example, that the actual global refining capacity is lower than the official figures. In Nigeria the refining levels stand at only 10% of the stated capacity, in Brazil they are at 44% and in Mexico at 60%. Even in Europe they are 15% lower than the stated capacity and there are no overcapacity issues, partly because of maintenance and halts in the systems and partly because no fewer than 14 refineries have closed down. Consequently, our plants are full and we have no problems finding crude oil, even though all of the experts have been advising us to leave the field on a regular basis ever since the 1940s. At Columbia University, where my son took management courses, they have never presented a case study of an oil company because they say that our industry is a world apart».

Moratti believes that it was inevitable for crude oil to plummet to its current level after it soared to the $110 mark without the search for new reservoirs ever coming to a stop. «We are now processing African crude oil from Angola and Congo, as well as Asian oil from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. And no two types of crude oil are the same. They are all different: some produce more petrol than others, some are sour and others aren’t… When you have learned the tricks of the trade, you know that you have to mix them to get the top quality demanded by customers. We run a service-based refinery and we have always developed extremely complex procedures that enable us to process more than 40 different types of oil, whereas our competitors tend to be limited to four or five types. That is why we are growing. We have always believed in our work and we have never stopped improving our systems and innovating. As a result, we are now considered the best in class. For a leading organization it is a good thing to be working with low-priced raw materials, in spite of the claims by certain sages a few years ago that we would benefit from rising crude oil prices».

However, there is one problem: «We have to improve ourselves constantly, go all out to ensure that the systems and the organization are running smoothly and lead the way in terms of both technology and trading. We have lots of outstanding members in our team, but the problem is that in Milan young people struggle to work because our legal system does not allow them to show their full potential in oil trading. We sometimes lose valued individuals because they choose to go to Geneva or London. It is no coincidence that we are now opening a company in Geneva so that we too can sell from there».