People: Genco opens Singapore office, hires head of major bulks

Recent changes at dry cargo, gas trading and gold market participants, among others

Genco Shipping has announced an new office in Singapore

Genco Shipping & Trading announced the opening of a Singapore office and named Ivo Kempenaer commercial director and head of major bulks on October 17. Genco transports iron ore, coal, grain, steel products and other dry-bulk cargoes.

Kempenaer comes to Genco with more than 30 years of experience working for ship owners and commodity charterers, focusing on major bulk commodities like iron ore and coal. He previously held roles at Simpson Spence Young, EDF Trading Singapore and BHP Billiton.

“We are excited to establish a Singapore presence and grow our footprint globally, supporting our efforts to offer a full-scale logistics solution and strengthen relationships with leading iron ore producers and charterers worldwide,” said John Wobensmith, chief executive officer of Genco, in a statement. “We are very pleased to have such an accomplished industry veteran like Ivo to spearhead the employment of our major bulk fleet and further position Genco to benefit from a market recovery.”

Skylar Capital adds O’Neill to trading desk

Brenden O'Neill, Skylar

Skylar Capital Advisers announced the hiring of Brenden O’Neill (pictured) to its natural gas trading desk on October 4. O’Neill will focus on options strategies and work out of the Houston office of the US Virgin Islands-headquartered hedge fund.

“I am enthusiastic about my move to Skylar: the experience, creativity and professionalism of the team already in place is second to none,” O’Neill says. “This opportunity has the potential to be the most rewarding period of my 20-plus year career.”

O’Neill began his career at Koch Energy as an engineer in the refining division before moving to the trading desk to deal in gas basis and options within the company’s trading unit. In 2006, he co-founded Houston-based energy trading fund Draxis Energy Management. While there he served as a senior portfolio manager, trading natural gas and other energy commodities.

“We welcome Brenden’s extensive experience, especially his expertise in implementing options strategies across various natural gas market conditions,” said William Perkins, Skylar’s founder, CIO and managing partner, in a statement. “Brenden’s approach as a fundamentals trader enhances our trading desk and overall strategy.”

Former CFTC chief counsel rejoins WilmerHale

Petal Walker

Petal Walker, who previously served as US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner Sharon Bowen’s chief counsel, has rejoined WilmerHale, the Washington, DC-based law firm announced on October 3. She will focus on advising companies on futures and swaps regulation and other CFTC issues.

Walker (pictured) joined the CFTC as Bowen’s chief counsel in October 2014, advising her on policy and enforcement issues. She also served on the CFTC’s market risk advisory committee.

“One of the main reasons I joined WilmerHale is because it has an integrated approach to law practice,” Walker says. “I joined the securities department which integrates securities, futures and derivatives in both our regulatory and enforcement work. Moreover, the securities group works closely with the corporate, banking and energy group. I think this integration is efficient and useful from a client perspective. And it also makes for an exciting way to practise law.”

Natixis names Mourre head of global markets commodities


On October 17, French bank Natixis announced Marc Mourre (pictured) as its new head of global markets commodities. Mourre, who has served as a senior adviser for Natixis since March, is based in London and now reports to Luc François, head of global markets, and Serge Ekue, senior country manager for the UK and head of global markets for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Mourre spent three decades with Morgan Stanley, most recently serving as vice-chairman of the commodities division and chairman of the bank’s African business while based in London. His tenure at Morgan Stanley included co-founding the bank’s oil trading business in London in 1986 and establishing its energy trading desk in Asia in 1988. He also set up Morgan Stanley’s Singapore office for commodities in 1990.

Before entering the financial sector, Mourre spent three years as an embassy official in Hong Kong for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and four years as a crude oil trader with Elf Aquitaine, now Total.

“Marc has an unparalleled depth of experience in the energy and commodities markets, a diverse network spanning the many players in the industry, and a proven focus on delivering value-adding solutions,” said François in a statement. “This is closely aligned with our own client-centric, solutions-focused model. Having already established a close partnership with Marc, we are delighted to welcome him onboard to drive the further development of our global markets commodities business globally.”

Lupaka Gold names Ansley CEO

Will Ansley

Gold mining company Lupaka Gold has named Will Ansley president, chief executive officer and director in an announcement on September 25.

Ansley (pictured) comes to Lupaka Gold from Satori Resources, where he most recently served as president and chief executive officer. Prior to that, he was chief operating officer of Mineral Streams, vice-president of corporate planning and strategy for Lake Shore Gold, and director of business development for FNX Mining Company.

“Mr Ansley’s appointment is an important step in the evolution of Lupaka Gold into a potential gold producer,” said Gordon Ellis, chairman of the company, in a statement. “Will brings a strong set of skills and experience to lead the company and guide the Invicta Gold Development Project potentially towards a cash-flow generating mine. He has helped to successfully build underground mines, managed public companies and, over the years, has built extensive networks in capital markets and in mining.”

Ansley put six mines into production during an eight-year period while working for Lake Shore Gold and FNX Mining. The opportunity to get the Invicta Gold Development project into operation made Lupaka Gold an attractive opportunity, he says. Development of the project will begin within the next two to three weeks, with production coming within three to four months, according to Ansley.

“Invicta is fully permitted to operate, a community agreement has been reached, and a New York-based investment firm performed due diligence and agreed to provide $7 million in capital to develop and operate the project,” Ansley says. “The remaining steps, which we are working through, include having the community agreement registered with the government, and closing the sale of our Crucero Gold exploration project to Gold Mining for proceeds of approximately $6 million in cash and shares.”

Beyond Limits hires head of oil and gas technologies

Shahram Farhadi

Shahram Farhadi (pictured) has been named head of oil and gas technologies at artificial intelligence and cognitive computing company Beyond Limits to develop next-generation AI-powered solutions for the energy industry, the company announced on October 16.

“I am focusing more on the upstream sector where reservoir characterisation, drilling automation and production optimisation are the main challenges,” Farhadi says. “With our unique AI technologies, we can help experts make better decisions, usually expensive, in these systems with complicated physics and scarce data.”

Farhadi was most recently involved with Nasa’s Orion project, working on simulations of a propulsion component. He also was a part of unconventional exploration and chemical flooding projects for Occidental Petroleum.

Farhadi says he’s always been intrigued by the complexity of oil and gas reservoirs, developing equations and algorithms to try and solve parts of what he considers a “puzzle”. The job at Beyond Limits was an opportunity to continue doing that type of work, he said.

“This role provides an opportunity to tackle very large problems in the domain leveraging Beyond Limits’ IP stack and its world-class team of AI researchers,” Farhadi says. “I am very excited about the role and looking forward to bringing deep-space surviving intelligence to provide solutions in oil and gas.”

Fortis Energy names Alford VP of operations

Oil and gas well servicing company Fortis Energy Services named Jason Alford vice-president of operations in an announcement on October 19.

Alford has spent 27 years in the oil and gas industry. He has experience executing critical well interventions such as blowouts, high pressure washouts, hot tap and gate valve drilling freeze operations and dynamic freeze jobs. Alford spent time working oil and gas plays in a number of regions as a country manager for Boots & Coots, a Halliburton company.

“The downturn in the oil industry the last several years has seen many companies struggle and enter bankruptcy – even companies people viewed as untouchable, struggled,” Alford says. “Fortis, however, has seen consistent growth in both revenue, profitability and customer base. It was a very exciting possibility to join such an incredibly talented team of professionals, who are clearly doing something right.”

Liu named Georgia Power’s chief financial officer and treasurer

Xia Liu was named chief financial officer and treasurer of Georgia Power by its board of directors, effective October 1.

Liu joined Southern Company, which owns Georgia Power, in 1998 and worked across several of its subsidiaries. She most recently served as chief financial officer and treasurer for Gulf Power.

“Xia brings a depth of knowledge and diverse experience from serving in business units across the Southern Company system that will further strengthen our organisation as we continue to modernise our business to best meet the changing needs of our customers,” said Paul Bowers, Georgia Power’s chairman, president and CEO, in a statement.

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