By Julia Payne
LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell’s <RDSa.L> oil traders in the Caribbean island of Barbados are getting ready for a tough gig – they’re being moved to the Bahamas next month.
The relocation of the oil and gas company’s trading hub for Latin America will make travel to customers in the key region easier for its employees, a company spokeswoman said.
Shell’s oil output in South America jumped sharply in 2016 after it acquired BG Group, which had a large portfolio of assets in Brazil. The country now accounts for about 10 percent of the group’s oil and gas production.
In the first half of 2018, oil production in the region was 335,000 bpd, according to company data. In 2015, South American output was only 38,000 bpd.
GRAPHIC: Shell oil and gas production in Latin America png – https://tmsnrt.rs/2OGbF4H
“Shell Western Supply and Trading can confirm it is relocating from Barbados to the Bahamas, effective September 2018,” the spokeswoman said.
“The requirement to move arose after the expansion of our customer footprint following the BG integration. As we look to grow our business, the location of the Bahamas will enable us to meet with our customers more frequently.”
In the past the office was primarily focussed on west African crude trading, particularly oil out of Nigeria where it has a major presence, a source familiar with the matter said.
The office of about 45 people has many expatriates who handle the whole chain around trading, including the financial side, legal, shipping and operations, the source said.
Brazil remains a key investment focus for Shell, which was awarded more offshore deep-water exploration licenses this year. The country has some of the world’s most enticing offshore geology, with billions of barrels of oil contained beneath a thick layer of salt under the ocean floor.
The allure of the Caribbean’s palm trees and calm, pristine beaches make job openings at Shell’s office among the most coveted, traders said.
(Reporting by Julia Payne; Additional reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by David Holmes)