* Unipec oil, gas volume reach 370 million T in 2016
* Trade volumes rise 10 pct annually since 2011
* U.S. crude shipments, new Africa assets to boost trade
By Florence Tan
SINGAPORE, March 28 (Reuters) - Unipec, a unit of Asia’s largest refiner Sinopec, expects its oil and gas turnover volumes to grow by 10 percent for the sixth year in 2017 as it vies for the top trading spot with Vitol, the world’s biggest independent oil trader.
The trading unit’s growth will come from expanded storage and logistics capability, including new assets in South Africa, and rising shipments of U.S. crude to Asia, said a Unipec senior official who declined to be named due to company policy.
“Our trade volume has been growing at 10 percent a year since 2011,” the official said. “This year we’re also expecting a 10 percent growth as we have increased our storage capacity and enlarged our global logistics capability.”
Unipec’s trade volumes for crude, oil products and LNG reached 370 million tonnes (2.7 billion barrels) of oil equivalent in 2016 with revenue of more than $100 billion, the official said.
The volumes claimed by the Unipec official - most of which are supplied to Sinopec refineries - exceed Vitol’s reported trade turnover in barrels, but the Chinese trading unit’s revenues do not appear to beat the Swiss trader’s income.
Vitol said on Friday its crude oil and product trading rose to 2.60 billion barrels last year, or more than 7 million barrels per day (bpd), bringing in $152 billion.
Sinopec purchased Chevron Corp’s South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana to secure the Chinese state company’s first major refinery in Africa.
The assets include a 100,000 bpd oil refinery in Cape Town, a lubricants plant in Durban as well as 820 petrol stations and other oil storage facilities.
Unipec has also seen an increase in its U.S. crude shipments to Asia this year, the official said, as shale oil production increases with improved prices and traders export surplus supplies to meet growing demand in the east.
For LNG, Unipec’s trade volumes remained small at just over 2 million tonnes last year, the official said. (Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Tom Hogue)