• Eni trading, shipping unit handles 1.6 million barrels a day
  • Trading helped oil majors counter poor upstream performance

Eni SpA plans to expand its trading business as the Italian oil major seeks to replicate the model that helped European rivals weather the rout in crude prices.

“Obviously, we want to grow,” Jorge Montepeque, senior vice president of origination at Eni’s trading and shipping division, told reporters at a Platts conference in London on Wednesday. Eni plans more hiring at the division, which employs about 400 people in offices including London and Houston.

Eni aims to increase trading for third-party clients at a division that currently trades 1.6 million barrels a day of crude and products. Trading helped European oil majors such as BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA post stronger-than-expected results in 2015 as they took advantage of a contango market structure to store crude for future sale at higher prices.

“We have a mandate that we can trade around the flows and keep developing the activity,” Franco Magnani, chief executive officer at Eni’s trading and shipping unit, told Bloomberg News in London.

Montepeque, formerly global director of market reporting for S&P Global Platts, a publisher of energy and commodity prices, was hired earlier this month to find new business for Eni.

France’s Total traded about 5.2 million barrels a day last year.

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