Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Gunvor Group Ltd. hired Neil Hitchinson as an oil trader as it expands its North Sea desk, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Hitchinson will report to Jose Orti, head of crude trading, one of the people said, declining to be identified because the matter is private. He will join from Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. after 10 years at the trading house. Gunvor spokesman Seth Pietras declined to comment.

Gunvor reported record annual profit of $1.25 billion in 2015, buoyed in part by increased earnings from oil trading. The company completed the purchase of Kuwait Petroleum International’s refinery in Rotterdam this year. The Dutch port is one of the main delivery points for North Sea crude grades, including Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk.

Kurt Chapman, Mercuria’s head of oil trading, recruited Hitchinson to Mercuria in 2006 after bringing him through the ranks at Sempra Energy, said Matt Lauer, a Mercuria spokesman. Chapman has run Mercuria’s North Sea desk for more than 10 years, Lauer said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andy Hoffman in Geneva at ahoffman31@bloomberg.net, Laura Hurst in London at lhurst3@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Herron at jherron9@bloomberg.net, Rachel Graham, Alex Devine

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