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BEIJING, June 1 (Reuters) - Li Chuang, former head of crude oil trading at Chinese state energy giant PetroChina Co Ltd has joined Geneva-based independent commodities trading house Mercuria as Asia head of its crude oil business, trading sources briefed on Li's move said.
Li, 42, resigned from PetroChina in February after 20 years with the company, having spent the last two years leading a global team of nearly 50 crude oil traders and marketers, in a rare departure from the state oil firm that rivals Swiss trader Trafigura in trading volume.
Li is expected to start later this month at Mercuria's Singapore office, reporting to Mercuria Asia Chairman Han Jin and working with a team of about eight traders in the region, said two of the sources.
Both Li and Mercuria declined comment.
The youngest among the world's top independent trading houses, Mercuria has expanded its crude oil dealings with Chinese firms in recent years, especially since 2016 after China's government allowed 28 independent oil plants to import crude oil for the first time.
Mercuria, one of the few western trading houses that own storage assets in China, supplied around 33 million barrels of crude oil to China in 2016, said one senior trader with knowledge of Mercuria's China operations.
The Swiss commodities trader said in March it traded 105 million tonnes, or 2.1 million barrels per day of crude oil and refined products last year, versus 99 million tonnes the previous year. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu)