MOSCOW, June 26 (Reuters) - Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft, quit the board of the St Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange (SPIMEX) under a line-up announced on Monday by the Russian commodities bourse.
International banks might now be more willing to handle clearing for SPIMEX after the departure of Sechin, the most influential executive in Russia’s energy industry that is under Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.
The presence on the board of Sechin, who had held the post of SPIMEX chairman, had deterred international banks from engaging with the exchange to avoid scrutiny by Western authorities, industry experts told Reuters.
International oil firms involved in the crude trade have been reluctant to use the exchange as it would mean working with Russian clearing houses.
SPIMEX, Russia’s largest commodities exchange, launched futures trading for Urals crude oil URL-E last year in its bid to secure greater prominence for the Russian export blend.
Urals is currently priced in the physical market, usually at a discount to the international benchmark Brent by pricing agencies, which survey traders and refiners.
An industry source said SPIMEX was now focused on luring Western clearing houses to its board to help lift trading in the Urals futures contracts.
A SPIMEX spokesman declined immediate comment. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Dmitry Solovyov and Edmund Blair)