Shell and Statoil investigated in EU crude trading probe

14 May 2013 16:03  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Statoil’s offices in Stavanger, Norway, were visited on Tuesday by European Free Trade Area (EFTA) and other competition authorities suspecting participation in “anticompetitive agreements and/or concerted practices contrary to Article 53 of the EEA Agreement,” the Norwegian oil major said.

“The suspected violations are related to the Platts’ Market-On-Close (MOC) price assessment process, used to report prices in particular for crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels, and may have been ongoing since 2002,” Statoil said.

The inspection visit was carried out by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA), assisted by the Norwegian Competition Authority (Konkurransetilsynet) at the request of the European Commission, it added.

“In addition the inspection relates to potential abuse of possible dominant position by another party, contrary to Article 54 of the EEA Agreement,” Statoil said.

The ESA confirmed in a statement that it had carried out "an unannounced inspection in Norway concerning activities in, and the provision of, services to the crude oil, refined oil products and biofuel sectors".

Articles 53 and 54 of the EEA Agreement relate to “competition and other rules”. This includes anti-competitive market pricing and production actions.

Platts said that the Commission had undertaken a review at its offices in London on Tuesday morning “in relation to the Platts price assessment process”.

“Platts is cooperating fully with the European Commission's review,” it said in a statement.

A Shell spokesperson told ICIS: “We can confirm that Shell companies are currently assisting the European Commission in an enquiry into trading activities.

“We are fully cooperating with the investigation. For legal reasons we cannot make any further comment at this stage”.

By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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