Commodities trading giant Trafigura has established a Russian subsidiary, to be called Trafigura Eurasia.

The move is an attempt by Trafigura to claw back some ground from rivals Glencore, Vitol and Gunvor in Russia, who between them have dominated the Russian oil market for some time.

Trafigura has spent the past few months hoovering up former TNK-BP staff in an effort to strengthen its hand in the local market. TNK-BP was taken over by Rosneft earlier in 2013.

Former TNK-BP vice-president Jonathan Kollek will be the president with Elena Lobodina, who had replaced Kollek at TNK-BP in 2012, joining him as CEO.

Dmitry Kuranov and Alexei Golubev also join as senior members of staff. It’s estimated the firm will employ around 40 staff, most of who worked for the now-defunct oil producer before its acquisition in March.

Trafigura’s CEO Claude Dauphin says the subsidiary has already concluded its first large oil export deal in Russia with Rosneft, commenting that “it’s a good start of what should be a long-term and rewarding relationship for both companies”.

In June, Trafigura and Rosneft signed a five-year contract which will see Rosneft supply Trafigura with crude oil and petroleum products. Prepayment on the contract was up to US$1.5bn.

This is small fry, however, compared to the US$10bn joint-prepayment made by Glencore and Vitol for the supply of crude in March.