GDF Suez SA, Europe’s largest power utility by market capitalization, began operations this week at the Singapore office of wholly owned subsidiary GDF Suez Trading.
The trading center will offer risk management and energy-price hedging for other companies in the Courbevoie, France-based GDF Suez group and for customers.
“The choice of Singapore was quite obvious,” said Phillipe Vedrenne, deputy chief executive officer. “Singapore is the hub of energy trading.”
The 12-person office opened with three sales specialists and two traders, Angel Archuleta, previously with Societe Generale SA, and Thierry Moreau. GDF will trade oil and coal derivatives and plans to add physical coal trading next year, Vedrenne said. The team will grow to 25 people by the end of next year, said Eric Simon, Asia Pacific chief representative.
The trading division shares an office with GDF Suez’s liquefied-natural-gas division and will support the sister company with hedging.
“In Asia, the gas business is still oil driven,” Vedrenne said. “You need to be able to trade crude properly and all the oil-related products, more or less all the barrel if you want to be active.”
Singapore will begin imports of LNG in 2013 and has a contract with Berkshire, England-based BG Group to buy as much as 3 million metric tons a year until 2023. The government will decide this year how it will bring in additional supplies, Neil McGregor, managing director of Singapore LNG Corp., said Nov. 8.
“We’ll see if there is something here in terms of opportunities” for future supplies to Singapore, Vedrenne said. “The group might contemplate what sort of operations can be organized around the terminal.”
Asia will be short of LNG through 2018 amid a surge in demand from countries including China and Japan, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd.
China’s LNG imports may rise to 30 million metric tons a year in 2015, according to the consulting firm’s estimates.
Japan, the largest LNG buyer in the world, will consume as much as 90 million metric tons by 2025 as the country’s nuclear-power capacity shrinks following last year’s Fukushima disaster, Shigeru Muraki, chief executive of Tokyo Gas Co.’s energy solution division, said June 6 at the World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Indonesia, the world’s second-largest exporter of LNG, will seek to import overseas cargoes to meet rising domestic demand, R. Priyono, the head of the nation’s petroleum regulator BPMigas, told Bloomberg on May 9.
GDF Suez Trading was created in May 2011 after the merger of Gaselys SAS and Electrabel SA.