Top Shell Oil Trader Schrans Said to Plan Departure in 2016

  • Asia trading manager Tarek Al Hassan to replace Schrans
  • Shell is a top player in the oil benchmark Brent market

The head of European oil trading at Royal Dutch Shell Plc will leave later this year, a significant departure as the company is one of the biggest traders in benchmark Brent crude.

Stany Schrans has worked for more than 15 years at the company, mostly focused on trading North Sea oil, according to four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Tarek al Hassan, a senior Shell trader based in Singapore, is relocating to London to replace him, two of the people said. Shell spokesman Jonathan French declined to comment.

Al Hassan will manage Dubai and Brent crude trading, the pricing benchmarks for most of the world’s oil, two of the people said. Schrans will remain in an advisory role.

The departure of Schrans comes as independent oil traders such as Vitol Group and the in-house trading arms of Shell, BP Plc and Total SA enjoyed a strong year in 2015. The head of BP global oil trade was also set to step down this year, three people said in October.

Shell is among the world’s top three oil traders along with BP and Total, handling enough crude and refined products daily to meet the demand of Japan, India, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. The trio’s supremacy in energy trading paid off last year as a bear market in crude allowed traders to generate higher returns by storing the commodity and selling it later at a higher price.

The three companies trade at least 15 million barrels a day of crude and oil refined products, according to estimates from industry executives compiled by Bloomberg News.

Shell operates the Brent oil field in the North Sea which lent its name to the Dated Brent benchmark used to price crude globally. The company is also the custodian of the so-called Suko 90 master agreement, which since 1990 has acted as an industry standard for the trading of the Brent benchmark.

The Brent market is undergoing key changes as production of the crude grades that underpin it declines, forcing the industry to seek alternative supplies to reinforce the benchmark. Platts, a price reporting agency that compiles quotes for Brent, in February said it was creating an alternative benchmark for Brent delivered in the port of Rotterdam.

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