Oil companies face price-fixing probe
Statoil is facing a price-fixing investigation by the Norwegian Competition Authority on behalf of the European Commission which is looking into anti-competitive agreements.
Statoil says it was hosting a visit by the EFTA Surveillance Authority which is being assisted by the Norwegian Competition Authority on behalf of the European Commission and is co-operating with the authorities.
“The authorities suspect participation by several companies, including Statoil, in anti-competitive agreements and/or concerted practices contrary to Article 53 of the EEA Agreement,” stated the Norwegian operator. “In addition the inspection relates to potential abuse of possible dominant position by another party,” Statoil says. This is contrary to Article 54 of the EEA Agreement.
Suspected violations under investigation relate to market close price assessments by Platts, which are used to report market prices for crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels, and that the alleged violations may have been occurring since 2002.
But Statoil is not the only oil company in the firing line: BBC news reported last night that both BP and Shell are also facing investigations into price-fixing.
A statement issued by the European Commission reported by the online Huffington Post said: “The European Commission can confirm that, on 14 May 2013, Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in and providing services to the crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels sectors. The Commission has concerns that the companies may have colluded in reporting distorted prices to a Price Reporting Agency to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products. Furthermore, the Commission has concerns that the companies may have prevented others from participating in the price assessment process, with a view to distorting published prices.”