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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
16/11/14 00:00

When shipping and trading wear high heels…

Shirin Seitnepesova, Integral Petroleum and Wista Switzerland, made an interesting presentation at the Propeller Club of Geneva about the role and weight of females into typically males and masculine sectors

Wista Switzerland

The famous blues singer James Brown’s iconic song “This is a men’s world!” was not played for sure in Geneva at a recent gathering organized by the Propeller Club.

Shipping and Trading in high heels was in fact the symptomatic title of the detailed speech, that included also a video of a vessel's launching, made by Shirin Seitnepesova, Head of Shipping department at Integral Petroleum S.A, of Geneva, together with a presentation by member Gisela Vargas about WISTA Switzerland Chapter, of which the Turkmenistan born manager and entrepreneur is also a very proactive member.

Especially worthy were the last two questions that she made almost at the end of her appreciated prolusion: “Do you think women in other business, are facing the same challenges as women in trading and shipping? Are we giving ourselves as women the means to succeed?”.

We do not actually know whether anybody from the audience, made mostly by female operators,  replied or made any significant comment. 

However this did not prevent Seitnepesova to draw her own conclusions: “there are several challenges raised by the growing presence of women in shipping & trading, as there are still political, cultural, geographical, religious barriers. Women show a proven knowledge and qualifications. In the end, this is not a men's world, it is also the playground of attractive women”.

Integral Petroleum’s executive started her deep analysis by considering the several new challenges to face that are all having a major impact on the international trade system: industrialisation, new needs of transportation and it new technology, globalisation, multinational corporates, outsourcing.

The increase in marine transport and volumes has  developed: routes infrastructures, larger and more advanced vessels, better equipped shipyards using high technology facilities, higher qualified personnel, more progressive support industries.

“In all such achievements, the shipping and maritime industry is dominated by well educated and international minded people. Anyway, despite the males and masculine cultures still ruling the sector, today we proudly can mention several names of successful ladies in male dominated areas within the thousands shipping and trading companies worldwide”.

To name just a few as paradigmatic samples of her bold theory she mentioned some sound names.

Angeliki Frangou, the Greek shipowner of Navios Maritime Holdings Inc.; Karin Orsel, the Dutch shipowner helming MF Shipping group and outgoing President of Wista International; Sadan Kaptanoglu, head of the eponymous Turkish shipping and shipbuilding group; Margarita Louis Dreyfus, who married the owner of trading company Louis Dreyfus and now, as a widow, is the chief of the group (the French press maliciously dubbed the Russian-born as Tsarina); Lynn L. Elsenhans,  owner of trading company Sunoco, active in the oil and gas industry; Cecilia Eckelmann-Batistello, Managing Director of Eurokai, President of Contship Italia and former Pesident of the Federation of European Private Port Operators FEPORT.


A wife deeply involved in the oil shipping and trading business of his husband 

Born in Ashgabat, the current capital of Turkmenistan, in the latest years of the former USSR: married with 2 kids (boy and girl); holding a diploma of Advance Studies of Geneva University /

GTSA and since 2009 is a member of WISTA Switzerland, graduated from Turkmen State University of National Economy (International Economic Relations Faculty), Shirin Seitnepesova was working for Veba Oil Supply and Trading GmbH and for British Petroleum as Operational Manager and as country manager for Select Energy GmbH, before marrying Murat Seitnepesov, a former freight forwader who is now owner and chairman of Integral Petroleum S.A. The company is registered in Switzerland and has its head office in Geneva, where it was set up in 2008 with a paid-in capital of 3 million CHF; in 30th September 2013 total equity overpassed 10 million CHF.

Her current position is Head of Shipping Department of Integral Petroleum S.A. in Geneva, a fast growing operator deeply involved in the liquid fuel (crude oil and petroleum products) supply chain, from production (by means of long-term relationships with refineries) to transportation and logistics through trading of the freight with an output made of the following main products: Cheleken and Keimir Blends of crude oil  from Turkmenistan, Petroleum products from Turkmenbashi complex of refineries (production capacity 9 million tons/year Seydi Refinery (production capacity 6 million tons/year) and number of refineries in Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

“We are a well-structured group based in Geneva working with the support of a trusted and reliable network of partners located in: Turkmenistan, UK, Russia and other countries” she says. “The operational flexibility of Integral Petroleum is based on unique and reliable logistics infrastructures, direct access to a wide range of inland and water transportation facilities, tailor-made operational solutions to satisfy individual requirements and demands. We also can boast a competitive advantages regarding logistics infrastructure since we benefit from a wide range of inland and water transportation facilities which results in high operational flexibility. We are using fleet of 30 river-sea type vessel floating storages in Black Sea, transhipment contracts with terminals in  Makhachkala, and Novorossiysk in Russia (for crude oil and petroleum products), Astrakhan terminals, Batumi and Kavkaz terminals (for petroleum products)”.

The annual turnover of the company  surpassed 600,000 mt in 2013, the claimed strategic goal is to reach 1,000,000 mt this year with further 50-100% annual increase for the next years.

To reach this ambitious target the Swiss company is to build its own new fleet of tankers; these purpose sea and mixed (river-sea going vessel), carrying crude oil and petroleum products on average Volgo-Don channel’s cargo loading mark at river draught (3,6 m), without restrictions for flash-point (i.e. including gasoline, naphtha and gas condensate), with ensuring temperature of carrying cargo up to 60°C, starting from 2016 will be in operation.

“Our main objective is to be among the world-leading oil and petroleum products trading companies by 2020. The strategy to support this development is based on diversification of banks‘ portfolios, enhancement of operational flexibility, management and minimisation of price and operational risks, focus on innovation, R&D and optimisation of business processes, flexibility in terms and conditions of cooperation” Seitnepesova concluded.

Angelo Scorza

TAG : Associations