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Vitol, the world’s biggest independent oil trader, has reported a sharp increase in trading volumes to more than 7m barrels a day.

The privately-held company said its crude oil and product volumes increased by 16 per cent to almost 2.6bn barrels in 2016, an average of 7m b/d, in an annual update on its performance.

While crude oil volumes rose 16 per cent year on year to 3.4m b/d, Vitol said the largest growth had come from gasoline, up 44 per cent, and diesel, up 26 per cent, because of increased demand in both established markets, such US, and also in Africa.

“The group’s performance in 2016 was solid, despite challenging market conditions,” said Vitol’s chairman and chief executive Ian Taylor in a statement.

The company did not release profit figures but said turnover was $152bn, down from $168bn a year earlier because of a lower average oil price over 2016.

Mr Taylor said the company, which effectively run from London but its registered in the Netherlands, said it remained focused on investing in and building energy assets to complement its core trading business.

Vitol recently joined up with partners including fund run by George Soros to buy a large petrol station network in Turkey for €1.4bn.

Mr Taylor said the growth in volumes and the recent acquisition in Turkey had led to some changes in its senior management team.

Russell Hardy, a senior executive, had been appointed to a new role as chief executive for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said Mr Taylor while its chief information officer Gerard Delsad, had taken control of its operations in Geneva.

“We are fortunate to benefit from a highly experienced management team with many years’ experience of working together,” said Mr Taylor.

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