The move to digital will drive talent migration

05 April 2019
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The oil trading sector’s continuing move toward process automation is triggering a migration of talent to digital service providers

Oil trading remains a difficult place to capture value. The use of algorithmic strategies continues to spread, and proprietary information is all but disappearing as fundamental data become more widely available from digital vendors. Trading groups’ efforts to cut costs by starting to automate processes with the use of technologies such as Blockchain make sense as they cut transaction times and require a lower headcount, but some are wondering where the process is leading.

Automation is likely to cause significant staff attrition. This will be the case particularly in the middle-and back-offices, where less people will be needed to work on the life cycle of each trade, but we also expect the number of operators, analysts and pipeline schedulers to drop. It is too early to estimate exactly what percentage of people could be affected, but the head of value-chain optimisation at a big merchant refiner recently told us that the majors’ trading operations could turn out to be around 25pc overstaffed once automation takes hold.

The use of automated services in the trade life-cycle and analytics space is growing fast, and the list of vendors is rising. One high-profile example is UK-based Blockchain platform VAKT. The company, which is backed by 12 market participants including BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total, launched late last year and is making rapid progress. Around two thirds of all North Sea crude trade is now processed through the VAKT platform, with participants from outside the group of direct backers now signed up for the service. The logic is simple – if the competition is shaving operational costs down through digitalisation and there is no barrier to entry, it’s time to get on board. VAKT is set to transform other highly liquid market areas, with northwest Europe’s ARA barge market and the US crude pipeline space next on its list.

Automation is likely to cause significant staff attrition. This will be the case particularly in the middle-and back-offices, where less people will be needed to work on the life cycle of each trade, but we also expect the number of operators, analysts and pipeline schedulers to drop.

Migration

The market for trade-processing, operations and analytics talent is shrinking as companies go through rationalisations and adopt digital processes, but the outlook is not as dark as it may seem. The rise of digital initiatives offering services to the trading sector is creating a new job market with the service providers, which need people with first-hand industry experience. Without such talent, they would be relying on guesswork when choosing exactly how to pitch their offerings to the market. The number of organisations focused on providing the market with post-trade, data and analytics services is rising in line with demand. Companies including Vortexa, Komgo, Kpler and Kayrros are employing or are seeking to employ people with industry backgrounds suited to their offerings.

Talent requirements are shifting in line with industry method and structure, but skills will remain in demand. We are seeing demand from the digital firms for people with specific oil-trade skillsets. This demand will rise as the service providers grow in number and market reach, effectively causing a migration of front, middle-and back-office staff from trading operations to companies offering digital services. The opportunity to offer such services arose because of market participants’ need to create greater efficiencies in a trading environment that has been weighing on margins. The companies that successfully take the opportunity will deliver the industry’s next wave of growth, branching out to deliver offerings appropriate to the age of information.

People Moves

EMEA

  • Etienne Amic has joined VAKT Global as CEO. He was previously CEO at EnAlgo
  • Stefano Ballista has succeeded Franco Magnani as CEO of Oil and Products Trading at Eni
  • Oiltanking has hired Matti Lievonen as CEO. He was previously the CEO of Neste
  • Paul Brewster has joined Macquarie Commodities Trading as Head of EMEA Crude Trading in Geneva. He was previously a Senior Crude Trader at LITASCO.
  • Frode Egeland has joined LITASCO in Geneva as a Senior Crude Trader. He was previously managing his own hedge fund in Stavanger.
  • Daniel Anderson has left Eni in London to join ExxonMobil as a Senior Crude Trader in Leatherhead.
  • David Myers will be joining BP IST as a North Sea Crude Trader in London. He was previously at P66 in a similar role.
  • Philip Hawley has joined Arcadia in London as a North Sea Crude Trader. He was previously Head of Crude Trading at Tamoil.
  • Anar Habib has joined Novatek in Zug as Head of Products Trading. He was previously in a similar role at Prometheus Partners in Zug.
  • Vincent Cariou has joined Targray in Geneva as Head of Biodiesel Trading. He was previously a Senior Biodiesel Trader at Cargill in Geneva.
  • Lars Wogen has joined Eiger Shipping as Managing Director in Geneva. He was previously Head of Crude Freight at Shell in London.
  • Giacomo Calamari, previously Clean Products Chartering Manager at Eiger Shipping in Geneva, has joined Prime International in Geneva as Head of Shipping.
  • Yassine Qermane has relocated to Geneva from Stamford with Gunvor to be Co-Head of Gasoline Trading with Jerome Espinasse.
  • Dominique Bodenheimer has joined Gunvor in Geneva as a Senior Distillates Trader. He was previously in a similar role at TOTSA.
  • Thomas Reszler has left Tricon Energy in Geneva where he was a Product Manager and founded Triptik Trading SA in Geneva.
  • Guillaume Letessier has joined Gunvor in Dubai as a Business Developer. He was previously at BB Energy in a similar role.
  • Rustin Edwards has joined Euronav as Head of Fuel Oil Procurement in Geneva. He was previously a Business Developer at Macquarie Commodities Trading in Geneva.
  • Nassim Bourennani has joined CEPSA in Madrid as a Gasoline Trader. He was previously at StarSupply as a Gasoline Broker.
  • Oryx Energies SA (OESA), a subsidiary of private investment group AOG, has appointed Moussa Diao as CEO.
  • Ed Shimonov has joined BGN Intl in London as Head of Crude Trading
  • Ed Hamilton has joined LITASCO in Geneva as a Senior Fuel Oil Trader. He was previously trading Dated Brent at Trafigura
  • Andrew Daniel has joined CBA in London as an Oil Trader. He was previously in an oil broking role
  • Alessandra Toce joined Petredec in London to trade LPG. She was previously at Petroineos in a similar role

APAC

  • Daniel Liu has joined Glencore in Singapore to trade oil and natural gas derivatives. He was previously at Goldman Sachs.
  • Dexter Li has joined Sinopec in Singapore as a Middle Distillates Trader. He was previously at Mabanaft.
  • Vinay Hans has joined Ampol in Singapore as a Senior Gasoline Trader. He was previously at Reliance.
  • Manosh Saha has joined Zenrock Commodities in Singapore to trade crude oil. He was previously at Repsol.
  • Yik Shiong Leow has joined Gunvor in Singapore to trade crude oil. He was previously at AOT.
  • Max Morán has joined Saudi Aramco to trade fuel oil. He was previously at PMI Holdings Petróleos España Singapore Branch.
  • William Bigelow has relocated to Singapore with Shell as Regional Team Lead – Eastern Gasoline & Ethanol Trading. He took over from Gertrude Yeo, who moved internally to Dubai to run LNG Atlantic trading.
  • Gerald Woon has joined ENI in Singapore to trade distillates. He was previously with Gunvor in a similar role.
  • Eng Siong Lee has joined Mabanaft in Singapore to trade middle distillates. He was previously at Lukoil.
  • Air BP has appointed Daniel Tyzack as Managing Director Asia Pacific based in Melbourne. He was previously Vice President Midstream for BP’s Australia and New Zealand fuels business.
  • Mike Petrut has joined Caltex in Sydney as a Senior Research and Analytics Specialist within the Strategy & M&A team. He was previously at Industrial Info Resources in Perth.
  • Exxon Mobil has hired Ruddin Dhilawala as a Senior Crude Trader in Singapore. He was previously trading crude at BP

Americas

  • Jason Wallis has joined Repsol as a Senior Crude Oil Trader. He was previously a Crude Oil Trader for Tanius.
  • Jayme Medina has joined Repsol as Heavy Products Trader. He was previously a Fuel Oil Trader/Manager for Koch Supply &Trading.
  • Vectra Capital has hired Scott Kereikas as Head of Crude Oil Trading. He was previously at Morgan Stanley
  • Allison Madrid has moved to ExxonMobil as a Supply Logistics Coordinator. She was previously a Gasoline Senior Trading Analyst at Andeavor
  • Mitch Rubinstein has moved to ExxonMobil in Crude Trading. He was previously the Managing Director, Global Head of Crude Oil at Noble
  • Scott Duffy has joined Commonwealth Bank as Global Head of Commodities and Trade Americas. He left Bank of America Merrill Lynch after nine years in crude trading.
  • Devon Hardy has joined Bonavista Energy Corporation as a Crude Oil Trading and Marketing Consultant. He was previously at Gibson Energy as a Manager of Crude Oil Marketing and Trading.
  • Sergio Baron has joined S&P Global Platts as a Senior Crude Analyst. He was previously at Nic Holding Corp as a Crude Oil Trader.

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