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Hidden oil giant Vitol skirts war, market chaos to make billions

Over half a century, the group - which trades about 6.5 per cent of the world's oil - has never suffered an annual loss.

UNCERTAIN OUTLOOK: Vitol has grown like a Silicon Valley startup and increased its equity value from US$278 million in 1996 to almost US$10 billion last year. But it now faces a daunting challenge as the best days of oil trade are almost over

IT WASN'T a normal business trip, even for Ian Taylor. Over an almost 40-year career in oil, the Oxford-educated Briton had set down in plenty of hot spots, from Teheran to Caracas, Baghdad to Lagos. Yet this journey - destination Benghazi, Libya in the midst of a civil war - was different....