x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Single agency identified in oil price fix investigation

Concerns that companies may have colluded in reporting distorted prices to a price reporting agency to manipulate published prices.

European authorities raided the offices of major oil companies Shell, BP and Statoil in an investigation of suspected manipulation of oil prices. EPA/ANDY RAIN
European authorities raided the offices of major oil companies Shell, BP and Statoil in an investigation of suspected manipulation of oil prices. EPA/ANDY RAIN

The investigation into allegations of oil price fixing by some of the world's largest energy companies involves only one reporting agency, European officials said yesterday.

"We're looking at possible collusion," Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for Joaquin Almunia, the EU's antitrust commissioner, said in Brussels. "One reporting agency" is involved, he said.

The commission said it had concerns that companies may have colluded in reporting distorted prices to a price reporting agency to manipulate published prices.

It also said companies may have prevented others from participating in the price assessment process of a pricing agency, which it did not name.

Platts, the world's largest pricing agency and a unit of US McGraw Hill, said on Tuesday it was cooperating with the investigation.

Authorities have sharpened scrutiny of financial benchmarks since slapping large fines on some of the world's biggest banks for rigging interest rate benchmarks.

European authorities raided the offices of major oil companies Shell, BP and Statoil in an investigation of suspected manipulation of oil prices.

"There is a serious lack of transparency in the price-setting system which means we have no idea if the prices are fair and honest," said Arlene McCarthy, a European parliament regulator.

* with agencies