Barclays Capital looks to be beefing up its physical oil and natural gas market presence as the investment bank reported in an internal memo that it has hired several BP plc veterans to join its Commodities Distribution segment.

The investment bank said Troy Black has joined the U.S. Energy Sales, Exploration & Production (E&P) team as managing director. Black comes to Barclays from BP's physical structured products business. Also coming over from BP's physical structured products business is Paul Dunsmore, who was appointed as managing director of Barclays Canada Energy Sales, E&P team.

In addition, Lakshmi Sreekumar and Albert La More join Barclays' Commodities Sales' E&P team in Houston as directors; Bob Williams joins as a director in Denver; and Jason Howe and Lee Van Hereweghe join as director and vice president, respectively, in Calgary.

The seven new hires will report to Sarah Valdovinos, managing director and head of LatAm, Canada, and U.S. E&P sales for Barclays.

BP, which regularly heads NGI's quarterly Top North American Gas Marketers' Ranking by a wide margin, transacted 29.4 Bcf/d during 1Q2010, down 8% from the 31.8 Bcf/d moved in 1Q2009. The number two spot in the ranking -- Shell Energy NA -- marketed 17.20 Bcf/d during 1Q2010, or 41% less than BP. Barclays Capital currently does not participate in the ranking.

The departures from BP come at a time that the embattled energy giant continues to recover from the Macondo well tragedy in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico nearly five months ago. The company, which has already spent more than $8 billion related to the well blowout and resulting clean-up, has vowed to sell up to $30 billion in assets over the next 17 months in an effort to slim down to weather the spill's fallout (see Daily GPI, July 28). The $7 billion in assets BP agreed to sell to Apache Corp. in late July are included in the planned sales (see Daily GPI, July 21).

Following a four-month investigation conducted by BP, the company on Wednesday shifted some of the blame to its partners on the Macondo well. No single factor caused the Macondo well tragedy in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, BP said Wednesday (see Daily GPI, Sept. 9). "Rather, a sequence of failures involving a number of different parties led to the explosion and fire which killed 11 people and caused widespread pollution" in the Gulf of Mexico.

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