Energy Trader (North America) Spotlight

Energy Traders help a company convert oil and gas production into profit – from commodities to cash. They buy and sell both physical and financial energy products to optimize their company’s financial returns.

What a typical day looks like:

Energy Traders wake up with the energy markets on their mind. They read news, watch weather reports and review data to understand where the energy and financial markets are headed. In the office, they use this data to make decisions about what, when and how much of a product – whether it’s natural gas, oil or products such as diesel, propane or butane – should be bought, sold or stored for future opportunities.

Energy Traders look for opportunities to get the best price to make a profit for their company. They formulate and validate daily forward curves for applicable markets and load the curves into a system of record. They calculate daily profit/loss statements for the portfolio, evaluate and monitor all trading activity and communications and analyze current supply and demand, logistics and quality differential factors. They combine all of this information to buy, sell and trade the company’s commodities. They also develop and execute hedging and production strategies where appropriate.

Energy Traders often work independently and spend a large amount of time on the telephone gathering information or making trades. This is a fast-paced and demanding career, so Energy Traders have the stamina to work long hours across different time zones. Typically employed in the exploration and production (E&P), oil sands and pipeline sectors of the oil and gas industry, they will often work in an office environment and can spend long hours at their desk.

The kinds of problems Energy Traders solve at work:

Because commodity markets can be volatile, Energy Traders are required to understand the fundamentals of supply and demand economics, the psychology of the energy markets and also the company’s production and operations. Energy prices can change often and at times, dramatically. Energy Traders use reports, quality differential trends and political news to predict where energy prices are headed in order to know whether to buy or sell.

Skills used most on the job:

With all of those calculations we mentioned above, it’s no surprise that Energy Traders have excellent math skills and an analytical mind. They can solve complex problems quickly and in stressful environments. They are also organized and good with negotiation and active listening and are excellent decision makers.

Energy Traders bring the company’s products to a fast-paced market. They sell. They negotiate. They buy. They trade. At the end of the day, they help their company make a profit.

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