French gas and power group GDF Suez opened a trading floor in Singapore this week, seeking to boost investment in Asia with financial trading of crude oil, refined oil products, coal and gas, the company said on Thursday.
While initially focusing on oil derivatives, it plans to set up a physical coal trading desk by next year.
The Asian expansion was aimed at offsetting stagnation in the European and US markets, said Philippe Vedrenne, deputy chief executive officer of GDF Suez Trading.
“Singapore is a hub for energy trading and that means we have the correct environment to develop trading activities,” he told reporters.
Asian economic growth led by China is causing a shift in the global demand centre from West to East, prompting a hiring spree among Singapore’s commodity houses.
GDF Suez, owner of the largest gas transport network in Europe, last year forecast booming demand for liquefied natural gas in Asia, particularly in China, as users look for alternative energy sources following last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.