Natural Gas

Natural Gas / Nat Gas Trading Headhunter

Natural Gas (nat gas) is one of the key areas of the Energy trading markets that Imperium Commodity Search operates within.  Our team has experience working with natural gas traders across all continents, both physical and futures. 

Our consultants stay plugged into the energy and natural gas markets to ensure we are providing our clients and candidates the best advice and opportunities within the space. 

Natural Gas Defined

Natural Gas, like Crude Oil, is a naturally occurring fossil fuel found under the earths surface.  With associated natural gas, crude sits at the bottom and natural gas exists in pockets above, composed of natural gasses from the decomposition of plants and animal matter over millions of years.  

Natural Gas is primarily made up of methane and is a hydrocarbon gas mixture with small quantities of other gaseous products such as a nitrogen and carbon dioxide also in its makeup.  Natural Gas, like crude and coal, is a non-renewable fossil fuel and used as a source of energy in its own right, as well as a feedstock to the petrochemical and plastics industry. 

Types of Natural Gas: 

Conventional Associated Gas is the gas found above oil reserves and is extracted during the crude oil drilling process.   Traditionally it was commonly a by-product of the oil production industry and often burned for disposal due to the expense of transporting it for use elsewhere.  Modern techniques exist to convert excess natural gas back into oil products and in countries with a high natural gas demand, such as the USA, pipelines have been built to deliver the byproduct from the refinery to end users/traders.  

In modern times, Shale Gas has become headline news due to the method of extraction.  Shale is a sedimentary rock found deep in the earths crust.  It is difficult to extract the gas using conventional methods, so it has become common to use a process called fracking or hydraulic fracking to obtain and extract the gas from the shale.  Shale gas now accounts for a large amount of the total nat gas produced in the US and has helped it become the largest producer of natural gas in the world. 

Town Gas is an older production method of natural gas that is not used to any great extent today due to the low extraction rates and high cost compared to other extraction methods in use now.  It is produced by the destructive distillation of coal and a by-product of coke ovens.  Previously, the gas produced during this process was collected and pipelined into users from coke ovens directly. 

Biogas is a growing market due to its environmental impact and is seen as a more sustainable fuel than fossil fuel natural gas.  Biogas is produced by breaking down organic matter, food waste and manure and produced in biogas plants, specially designed to extract the gas/methane from the ‘digestion’ or thermal breakdown of the organic matter. 

The Uses of Natural Gas: 

Natural gas is primarily used in the US and Europe in power generation and for domestic use for cooking and heating.  Natural gas has some other specific applications in other commodities such as Fertilizers where it is used a feedstock for the production of ammonia.  Natural Gas is also used to produce hydrogen which is a new source of energy for hydrogen vehicles as well as an important feedstock in chemical production. 

How is Natural Gas traded? 

Natural Gas is traded across both physical and derivative markets and is traded largely across the UK, Europe and the USA.  

Physical Traders maintain relationships with producers and majors as well as utilities, power production facilities and refineries for the sale of natural gas. 

Derivative Traders trade across different regions and often utilise calendar spread options due to the seasonality of the nat gas markets.  Natural Gas is produced all year round, but naturally the demand for natural gas is highest in the winter.  There is a clear seasonal affect on futures prices for natural gas with the peak in the winter months and a trough in the summer.   

Where is Natural Gas traded? 

Natural Gas is becoming a globally used commodity, however the key players still revolve around the UK, US and Europe.  These are known as ‘demand centres’ and are regionally split into their own markets which control the trading price and local market movements.  The three areas are: 

Henry Hub is the largest natural gas trading hub in North America, based in Louisiana.  It is used as the official benchmark for futures contracts on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange).  The Henry Hub pipeline has access to most of the major gas markets across North America and has good exposure to both onshore and offshore production. 

UK and the Netherlands or NBP / TTF are the key markets in Western Europe and are the key futures markets benchmarks for the CME Group and ICE.  The NBP or the National Balancing Point is a virtual trading point operated by the National Grid in the UK.  The TTF or the Title Transfer Facility is a virtual trading point operated by GTS (Gasunie Transport Services) in the Netherlands 

North Asia has become a larger player in the natural gas markets in recent years, however has far fewer pipelines than Europe or the US.  In recent years, Platts have assessed the North Asian LNG price via the JKM (Japan/Korea Marker) Index which is a listed product on some exchanges including the CME. 

Natural gas is traded globally in its liquefied form LNG and is becoming a popular choice to fuel ships due to the IMO 2020 legislation on emissions from the shipping industry.  Natural gas is becoming a global market and one of the fastest growing on earth.

Who are the key players? 

Many of the largest natural gas market participants are oil majors.  The largest Natural Gas companies in the world as of 2018 are: 

Gazprom (Russia) 35.2bn cubic feet per day
Exxon Mobil (USA) 10bn cubic feet per day
CNPC (China) 10bn cubic feet per day
Royal Dutch Shell (UK/Netherlands) 9.3bn cubic feet per day
BP (UK) 8.7bn cubit feet per day 

By country, the largest natural gas reserves are estimated and the largest reserves (in Trillion Cubic Feet / TcF) are thought to be: 

Russia 1,700 Tcf
Iran 1,200 Tcf
Qatar 885 Tcf
Turkmenistan 353 Tcf
USA 334 Tcf

What is the Salary for Natural Gas Trader? 

Natural Gas traders often work internally for producers and majors, selling natural gas into refineries and utilities.  Often called marketers, they can earn in excess of 100,000USD in basic salary with a performance or profit related bonus. 

Derivative traders and brokers’ salaries can vary greatly and can depend on the split between base and bonus.  A mid seniority natural gas broker can earn around 100-150,000USD in base salary with a substantial bonus based on revenues and commissions.  

Natural Gas Recruitment from Imperium Commodity Search

Imperium Commodity Search work across front, middle and back office roles at trading houses, majors and brokerages within natural gas and are structured to offer a headhunt and extraction led recruitment model to our clients.  

If you would like to discuss our exposure to the natural gas trading markets or find out how we recruit for natural gas positions, please call us on +44 (0) 203 927 5090 or register online here and one of our natural gas recruitment search consultants will be in touch. 

To view our current natural gas brokerage, trading, operations and support vacancies click here or contact one of our consultants to discuss current careers / jobs in natural gas trading to discuss your needs in more detail. 

To arrange a consultation with a consultant to discuss your hiring needs / growth plans and where we can assist click here or contact one of our consultants directly here for a confidential discussion

Contact Us

We are here to help. Speak to one of our experienced energy / oil & gas recruitment consultants now on +44 (0) 203 927 5090


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