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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years

The head of Royal Dutch Shell’s oil trading division has stepped down after 29 years of service to the company, emerging reports say.

Mike Muller announced his resignation in an internal announcement, which was seen by Reuters. He will remain with the company until the end of the year, after which he will “pursue his interests outside of Shell.”

Andrew Smith was appointed head of supply and trading at Shell earlier this year.

Muller expanded Shell’s business into the North Sea, a benchmark grade for the Brent barrel price. The company traded as many as 8 million barrels per day under his leadership.

Recently, Muller led a push to include Russian Urals crude in the assessment to determine the Brent price, largely controlled by the values of grades produced in Western Europe.

“A good benchmark need not only be representative of what the region produces ... If you had to pick one grade of crude, Urals is the one which northwest European refineries should be designed to run optimally,” Mike Muller, Vice President Global Crude Oil Trading & Supply at Shell, said at the Platts Crude Summit in London in May.

The move represented a U-turn from the company’s stance two years ago, when it had said that adding the Urals grade in the Brent benchmark would not be “worth the trouble”. Shell has been trying to reform the dated assessment in recent months.

Related: Saudi Arabia’s Risky Market Share Sacrifice

The benchmark currently comprises Brent, Forties, Oseberg, and Ekofisk, known as BFOE. Now Shell believes more grades must be added in pricing the Brent in the next two to three years, and Russia’s medium sour Urals would be a top contender. 

“These are the sort of things Shell wishes to see in benchmarks going forward,” Bloomberg quoted Muller as saying.

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By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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