* Registers new company called Galp Trading
* Aims to have oil, products and gas desks - website
* Traders poised to sell new Brazilian volumes
By Emma Farge
LONDON, Nov 28 Portuguese oil company Galp
Energia plans to move its oil traders from Lisbon to
Geneva in the next few months, oil industry sources told
Reuters, as it seeks to build a bigger client base for its
future Brazilian crude volumes.
Low corporate taxes and a culture of secrecy have made
Geneva a magnet for oil trading firms such as Trafigura and
Gunvor and around a third of the world's oil is now traded
A new company called Galp Trading was registered in August
with the goal of pursuing "commercial activities particularly in
the sale of oil, oil products and natural gas...", according to
an online commercial registry for the Canton of Geneva.
"Initially it will be the oil business and then the rest
later," said a trading source familiar with the company's
activities. "This is on the back of having success with
production in Brazil," he added.
The firm has around ten energy traders in Lisbon, the source
Galp Energia, a mid-sized oil producer and refiner with a
stake in the Angolan upstream, declined to comment.
Oil traders reiterated the view that Galp's decision to
relocate was likely motivated by the need to be among other
traders and potential clients as it expands its upstream
Galp's oil traders are currently active in the West African,
North Sea and Mediterranean crude markets as well as oil
products and gas, trading sources said.
The initial office location will be on Rue Saint-Leger in
central Geneva, the commercial registry showed, next to a leafy
park with fountains and giant chess boards.
The planned move follows Trafigura's decision to shift all
of its traders there from London earlier this year.
Some traders said Galp's move might herald a strategic shift
from a model of buying crude for its own refining system to a
more sophisticated trading strategy involving bigger bets aimed
at exploiting regional price differences.
Galp is developing massive oifields in Brazil's deepwater
sub-salt region - site of the largest oil discovery for more
than 30 years - in a move that should increase available crude
oil volumes for trading.
Most of its production is currently in Angola but it expects
this to shift to Brazil in the next few years with the
development of the Lula and Cernambi area.
"Historically, they are purchasing for the system and not
trading. Maybe they have aspirations to do something different.
That would be a fundamental step," said a West African oil
In 2010, the company bought around 83.9 million barrels of
crude oil sourced from around 16 countries including top African
producers Angola and Nigeria, according to its website.
It has two refineries in Portugal with a combined capacity
of around 330,000 barrels per day and is an exporter of gasoline
and fuel oil.
(Reporting by Emma Farge; editing by Keiron Henderson)