Singapore head of fuel oil trading is latest Brightoil departure

PHOTO: Singapore head of fuel oil trading is latest Brightoil departure

SINGAPORE - Brightoil's Singapore head of fuel oil trading has resigned, bringing the total number of senior departures from the Hongkong-listed company to seven within a span of six months.

The company, one of Singapore's top traders of fuel oil, has seen much turnover in key personnel as it expands aggressively to become a global energy conglomerate amid a challenging market environment that saw it issue a profit warning last month.

Veteran fuel oil trader, Edmund Lau, confirmed that he has resigned from his position of head of fuel oil trading in Singapore but declined further comment.

A source familiar with the matter said Lau has not been at the company since Dec. 10 but is on gardening leave - an arrangement where employees are still on a company's payroll so that they will not move to join a competitor with up-to-date information.

A spokeswoman for Brightoil confirmed Lau's resignation and said that the impact to the company would be minimal as they have a new team of traders and are hiring more for the fuel oil, crude and chemicals desks in Singapore, the United States and Geneva.

Brightoil Chairman Raymond Sit told Reuters in an interview in November that the company has hired six crude traders in Singapore, including three from Sinopec's trading arm, and plans to employ four more in Geneva, Switzerland, to make up a 10-man team. Five chemical traders will start in January, Sit said.

Other key personnel that have left the company include Quek Chin Thean, the chief executive of Brightoil's Singapore unit who departed in November, as well as Davy Choo, a senior fuel oil trader, and Paul Bradshaw, who oversaw operations and logistics for the company's trading business in Asia.

Brightoil's fuel oil derivative trading volumes have been on a steady decline since July, Reuters data showed.

From July to October, the company's average monthly trading volume was 817,500 tonnes, down from a monthly average of 1.44 million tonnes between July 2011 and June 2012.

The company's fuel oil derivative trading volume for the first 20 days of November stood at 205,000 tonnes.

Before he joined Brightoil in 2010, Lau was the leader of BP's Asia fuel oil trading team.