Staff at French oil and gas giant Total have been told it is moving its trading operations from London to Geneva in September in a move affecting 200 jobs, Sky News understands.
The company declined to comment on the numbers but did acknowledge that it was planning to consolidate trading and marketing activities currently split between London, Paris and Geneva.
In a statement issued to Sky News, it said Brexit was “not at all” a factor in the move.
However, it could be seen by some as a further blow to the UK at a time when thousands of financial sector jobs and billions of pounds worth of assets are being shifted overseas amid uncertainty about the prospect of a no-deal departure from the EU.
Total employs more than 2,000 people in Britain, with major oil and gas operations in the North Sea as well as refining and renewable energy divisions. These operations are not affected by the latest plans.
The company’s UK arm is also one of the world’s leading energy traders and vendors of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Total said it was making changes as a result of its $1.5bn acquisition last year of LNG assets from another French company, Engie.
It said that following the deal it “plans to consolidate its LNG trading and marketing activities and bring together similar business teams split across multiple locations in Europe”.
This will result in all of Total’s European trading operations being consolidated in Geneva “the leading commodity trading hub of the continent”, the company added.
Geneva is in Switzerland which is not part of the European Union but does have a free trade agreement with it.
Total also said London-based LNG marketing activities will be moved to Paris to be grouped with existing operations it has taken over as a result of the Engie deal.
The company added: “Brexit is not at all a factor influencing this project.
“This project is the consequence of the necessity to regroup teams split between three locations after the acquisition of Engie assets and teams.”
(c) Sky News 2019: Energy giant Total to move UK trading jobs to Geneva