UPDATE 1-Four BP marine fuel traders in Asia resign-sources

* Another 4 BP traders quit, this time from marine fuels

* Follows departures of 14 staff from global fuel oil team

* BP has been largest bunker supplier in Singapore for 3
yrs
(Adds details, comments)

By Yaw Yan Chong

SINGAPORE, June 10 (BestGrowthStock) – Four Singapore-based marine
fuel traders have resigned from BP (BP.L: ), the largest bunker
player in the oil and shipping hub, which comes after most of
the oil major’s global fuel oil team members quit, three
industry sources said on Thursday.

The four, including the head of the Asia bunker division
and two senior traders who have been with BP for up to 10
years, tendered their resignation letters late last week and
are serving notice.

In contrast, the fuel oil traders have physically left the
company and are on three months’ gardening leave.

When contacted, a BP spokeswoman declined to comment.

“We do not comment on employees’ movements,” she said.

The resignations left BP’s bunker team, which handles small
lots of residue fuel for supply to ships, with a staff of just
two or three support personnel.

The latest departures brought the number of resignations
from BP’s fuel oil and bunker fuel teams to 18. The fuel oil
team, which handles larger cargo trades, is left with two
traders on its Asia team — one trading physical cargoes and
the other doing swaps.

Clive Christison, BP’s Director and CEO of its Eastern
Hemisphere Integrated Supply & Trading division, recently
confirmed the resignations of fuel oil traders but said the
number was not as many as reported.

Christison said the earlier departures had not affected the
firm’s fuel oil trading activities, adding that it still has a
strong fuel oil team. [ID:nSGE6560EE]

BP also supplies marine fuels in major Asian ports,
including Hong Kong, China and South Korea.

“It looks like the exodus is continuing. But at least the
outgoing personnel will serve a month’s notice before leaving,
unlike the fuel oil traders, and leave less of a vacuum in the
market,” a Singapore-based bunker supplier said.

“But they would have to be replaced quickly and with
equally capable people because BP is the largest volume seller
in the market and has been for the last three years.”

TOP BUNKER PLAYER

The oil major has been listed by Singapore’s Maritime Port
Authority (MPA) as the largest volume seller with an estimated
400,000 tonnes per month. Singapore is the world’s top
bunkering port, handling monthly bunker volumes averaging
3.2-3.3 million tonnes.

BP is also one of the most active and profitable fuel oil
trading firms in Asia, regularly mounting trading plays
involving a few million tonnes of swaps and physical cargoes.

The large bunker volumes the company handles provide a
convenient market outlet for the physical cargoes that it
accumulates in the course of its bull trading plays, traders
said.
“The cargo-trading team and the bunker division work very
closely together, more than most other oil majors. Most, if not
all, of the supply for their bunker business comes from the
cargo side,” a fuel oil trader said.

“The cargo guys provide the volumes and dictate the pricing
for the bunker team to market.”

Traders said they would not be surprised if the bunker
traders who quit end up in the same company as the former BP
fuel oil traders.

The former global head of fuel oil trading Quek Chin Thean,
who left more than two weeks ago, had also been the head of
BP’s marine fuels division.

In all, five of its fuel oil traders and four support staff
in Asia, three traders in the U.S. and its team leader in
Europe, have resigned in the past one month.

The nine from Asia and its U.S. team leader are joining
Hong Kong-listed Brightoil (2910.HK: ), an ambitious China-based
company that has been expanding its trading capabilities over
the past one year, trade sources said.

Brightoil is growing its monthly volumes to about
250,000-300,000 tonnes this year, up from 150,000-200,000
tonnes.

Investment Research

(Editing by Ramthan Hussain)

UPDATE 1-Four BP marine fuel traders in Asia resign-sources