The UK network of Essar branded filling stations has grown to 36 and the company has planning permission for the first company owned site, which it plans to open later this year.

A spokesman said the company owned site was a former Gulf forecourt which had been closed for some time, and was on the A5117, only yards from Essar’s refinery at Ellesmere Port.

He said the new development would be a flagship company owned site and that Essar would be making other strategic acquisitions.

The growth in the network was revealed as Essar UK published its full year results.

For the full year ending on March 31 2017, Essar UK’s Stanlow refinery achieved a throughput of 9.09MMT, up from 8.97MMT the previous year, and the company said it produced 16% of the UK’s road transport fuel demand. Pre-tax proft was $257m compared with $251m the previous year.

The company also announced it would be investing $250m in the refinery to increase annual throughput from 68 million barrels to 75 million barrels.

Essar Oil UK chief executive officer, S Thangapandian, commented: “Essar has committed this year to a significant multi-million dollar capex investment in the Tiger Cub project at Stanlow to deliver improved yields across the product slate and drive revenue growth. In addition, the continued ambitious expansion of our UK retail network and direct aviation fuel supply business are also important strategic elements in the drive to build a fully integrated downstream energy company.”

Essar Oil UK chief financial officer, Sampath P, said: “With a strong financial base and key improvement projects set to be completed this fiscal year, we are now looking forward to the continued growth of the company with an increased commercial focus. Despite a weaker market, this is another impressive set of results that has helped to build a business with a net worth of almost a billion dollars.”