US House panel to investigate $303m BP penalty

24 October 2007 21:29  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A committee of the US House of Representatives will investigate whether a $303m (€212m) penalty levied against BP is large enough to discourage price fixing, two congressmen said on Wednesday in a statement.

The US Department of Justice and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) are said to have reached a settlement with BP concerning allegations that the British energy giant attempted to manipulate propane prices in 2004, according to media reports.

Neither the agencies nor BP would comment on the reports.

"In order to protect America’s businesses and consumers, we plan to carefully monitor this matter and take a close look at BP’s operations in the US," said Representative John Dingell (Democrat-Michigan), chairman of the US Energy and Commerce Committee, which will conduct the investigation.

Dingell made his comments in a statement that he issued with Representative Bart Stupak (Democrat-Michigan).

“CFTC’s recent legal actions against BP, coupled with previous futures markets violations, confirm my concerns that there is market manipulation in the oil and gas industry," Stupak said in the statement.

"We will be assessing whether there is a corporate climate within BP, which allows its traders to engage in a pattern and practice of price manipulation," he said.

($1.00 = €0.70)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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