ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS — Oil trading giant Vitol announced on April 2 that it has commenced trading in global grain markets and has hired a former Viterra executive to lead its efforts.

Vitol will trade grain and other agricultural commodities globally from Singapore and Geneva, supported by teams based in Vancouver, B.C., and Hamburg, Germany, beginning in May.

Don Chapman, based in Vancouver, will lead the team. Previously Mr. Chapman was senior vice-president at Viterra. He joined Viterra in 2007 from Toepfer International.

“Trading agricultural products builds on our core strengths in logistics and understanding of global markets,” said Ian Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the Vitol Group. “This is a natural extension for the business, and we are pleased to welcome this experienced and proven team to Vitol.”

Vitol was founded in 1966 with a focus on trading crude oil and oil products. It is still a major participant in world energy trading, shipping 260 million tonnes of crude oil and product in 2012. The company had revenues of $303 billion last year.

The company also is a significant participant in the world sugar market. The company trades up to 5% of the world’s physically traded sugar in free market areas, adding value to trade flows from producers to consumers. Annually, the company moves 1.5 million tonnes and trades up to 2.5 million tonnes of raw sugar in bulk. Vitol also trades in white and refined bagged sugar focusing on industrial users in growth markets.

Vitol charters tankers and moves crude oil and oil products. Products include gasoline, diesel, heating oil, fuel oil, jet fuel, naphtha and metals, ethanol and chemicals. The company also pipes gas, fills and operates terminals, and ships coal and biofuels.