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Pressure exposes hedge fund within Hess

Financial Times – A campaign to break up the Hess oil group has exposed for the first time one of the world’s least known – and until recently, most successful – energy trading outfits to outside scrutiny.

Hetco, as the trading company is called, was founded in 1997 by two former Goldman Sachs partners, Stephen Hendel and Stephen Semlitz. Known to traders as “the Steves”, their joint venture with Hess has since marched into oil hubs from Houston to Geneva, built a clientele that included the state oil and gas company of Algeria and raised eyebrows with audacious moves in the North Sea crude market.

“It is Goldman Sachs, but private,” says an Algerian oil official.

Whether Hess Energy Trading Company fits inside its namesake’s business is now the question being raised forcefully by Elliott Management, the New York hedge fund that last month disclosed a 4 per cent stake in Hess and sought five seats on the board.

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