| NEW YORK, Sept 30
NEW YORK, Sept 30 Tom Ramsey, the former chief
operating officer for energy at commodity trading house Gavilon
Group, joined global oil trader Vitol's North American crude oil
business this month, two sources said on Monday.
A Gavilon spokesman confirmed Ramsey's position and said his
last day with the company was in July. He had been with Gavilon
for more than three years after working for BP Plc
leading its natural gas liquids marketing and trading group.
The departure comes at an uncertain time for Gavilon, the
U.S.-based trading house established five years ago by commodity
hedge fund expert Dwight Anderson and a handful of investors.
Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp bought
Gavilon's larger grains and fertilizer business for $2.7 billion
this July, leaving the energy division searching for a buyer.
The business includes physical assets such as more than four
million barrels of oil storage capacity in Cushing, Oklahoma.
"Marubeni purchased Gavilon as an agricultural asset and has
less interest in pursuing the energy business," said Peter
Henry, senior consultant at Commodity Search Partners in New
Ramsey was reached for comment at Vitol's Houston office and
he confirmed he left Gavilon in July and began working for Vitol
in September in its North American crude oil marketing business.
Swiss-based, privately held Vitol ranks as the top oil
trading firm, and has been increasing its presence in other
commodities, most recently into metals and agriculture.
Privately held commodity trading houses such as Vitol have
been jostling one another for the lead in the North American oil
business as oil production in the United States grew some 30
percent in the last five years.
"The North American oil market has become one of our most
active for search activity," said George Stein, managing
director of New York-based recruiting firm Commodity Talent LLC.
The U.S. shale oil boom has created new trading
opportunities and a frontier-like mentality for companies not
bound by stringent U.S. regulations, he said.
Oil producers and energy traders are taking advantage of
price differences at oil hubs across the United States as
ballooning supplies of crude are shipped via new rail and
Commodity trading merchants are unfettered by U.S. banking
regulations that have curtailed the trading activities of Wall
Street banks, forcing some out of the business altogether.
In July, the U.S. Federal Reserve said it was "reviewing" a
landmark 2003 decision that allowed regulated banks to trade in
physical commodity markets. That same month, JPMorgan Chase & Co
said it would seek "strategic alternatives" for its
physical oil, gas, power and metals trading division.