(Reuters) – French oil major Total has appointed one of its U.S. oil trading experts, Thomas Waymel, as the new global head of trading and shipping, replacing long-serving chief trader Pierre Barbe.
A company spokesman told Reuters Waymel would take over from Dec 1.
Trading U.S. oil has become one of the hottest jobs in the market due to fast shifting dynamics created by the U.S. shale oil boom in recent years and as Washington debates whether to abolish a long-standing ban on crude exports.
Barbe has worked for Total since 1983 and has been running one of the world’s largest oil trading desks since 2007. Total trades around 4.5 million barrels of oil and refined products per day – more than the production of OPEC members Iraq or Iran.
In his most recent job, Waymel was the head of crude trading at Total in Geneva. Previously he ran its North American trading offices out of Houston, according to several traders in the market.
Two years ago, Waymel told an industry conference he expected U.S. imports of light, sweet oil from West Africa to fall to virtually zero by 2014 because of the U.S. shale oil boom – a prediction that became reality this year. (Reporting by Michel Rose in Paris and Dmitry Zhdannikov in London; editing by Jane Baird)