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Oil firm relocating Houston operationsto the Bahamas

One of the largest crude oil trading companies in the world, Gunvor International BV, announced yesterday that it was moving its Houston business to The Bahamas within the next four months.

Company spokesman Stuart Leasor toldGuardian Businessyesterday that Gunvor had decided The Bahamas was a more suitable place for its Houston-based trading business, and was a part of the company’s global strategy.

“[The company]reviewed its strategy and concluded that trading and investment opportunities would be best placed in Nassau, and therefore will be relocating over the next few months,”Leasor said.

The Houston operation currently employs around 15 people, though it was too early to say how many jobs in the local market this would translate into, according to Leasor, who added that”full announcements will be made when appropriate.”He also said it was premature to say whether it would lease, rent, buy or build to house the new operations.

Leasor also said that he was not able to disclose exactly what the trading offices do. According to a company publication, Gunvor coal and freight has trading offices in Houston, Switzerland and Singapore. Switzerland and Singapore are renown financial services jurisdictions.

Gunvor is registered in Amsterdam, and according to the company website has offices and entities around the world. The company specializes in the trade, transport, storage and the’optimization’of global oil and petroleum products, according to the company’s website. It formed a global energy division in September 2009.

“Gunvor is one of the world’s largest independent energy trading companies,”Leasor said.”It’s probably about the fourth largest oil trading company, and they are expanding into different markets around the globe.”He added that the company was best known a few years ago for Russian crude, but”now they are a global player and therefore they want to be globally located.”

According to a Reuters report in 2007, the company’s founders are Swedish oil trader Torbjorn Tornqvist and Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko, who appeared on Forbes’billionaires list with a net worth of$2.5 billion in 2008. The 2007 Reuters report further noted that at the time Gunvor had secured the number 3 ranking in the world in its then 10 years of operations.

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