He joined ConocoPhillips in 1979, initially working in marine transportation and production engineering services in Houston, Texas. He then handled upstream acquisitions in Europe and Africa and managed Conoco's exploration activities in continental Europe from the Paris headquarters.
In 1991 Vermeir moved to London to lead the business development activities for refining and marketing in Europe.
In 1996 he became managing director of Turcas in Istanbul (Turkey). He returned to London in 1999 to lead strategic initiatives in Russia and to complete major acquisition deals in the North Sea. He also headed an integration team during the Conoco-Phillips merger.
In 2007 he became head of external affairs Europe and in 2011 was appointed as president of operations in Nigeria.
Subsequently and until 2015, Vermeir was Vice President of Government Affairs International for ConocoPhillips.
Raphael Vermeir was a member of the Board of Directors of Oil Spill Response Ltd and until 2011 was Chairman of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers for four years in a row. Since 2016 and until April 2021 was Senior Advisor for Energy Intelligence and Strategia Worldwide.
From 2016 and until 2021 he was Chairman of IP week. Since 2016 until 2022 he was Senior Advisor for AngloAmerican.
From April 2021 until May 2023 Raphael Vermeir was Lead Independent Director of Eni.
He served as Trustee of St Andrews Prize for the Environment.
A Belgian national, he graduated in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique in Brussels. He holds Masters of Science degrees in engineering and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.