News / Europe

EU Inspects Four Firms in Oil Price-Fixing Probe

VOA News
The European Union has launched an antitrust investigation into possible price manipulations for oil and biofuel products.

Authorities made unannounced inspections Tuesday at three oil companies -- BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil -- as well as Platts, a company that collects oil price data.

The European Commission said in a statement it is concerned that the companies may have worked together to report false prices and prevent others "from participating in the price assessment process." It said even small changes can hugely impact oil prices and harm consumers.

Statoil said the suspected violations could date back to 2002, and were related to the way Platts reports prices for crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels.

All of the companies said they are cooperating with investigators.

The EU said the inspections are a preliminary step in its investigation, and do not mean any of the companies are guilty.

The potential for oil price manipulation is not a new concern.

The International Organization of Securities Commissions carried out a two-year investigation at the request of the G20, which resulted last year in a series of recommendations to address potential problems and make oil price assessments more reliable.

Those recommendations included making clear the methodology for arriving at prices, adopting quality control measures for the market data being used, and instituting policies to help avoid conflicts of interest within firms.

Price reporting agencies, like Platts, have agreed to implement the principles.

Britain's Daily Telegraph quoted officials in London as saying the alleged oil price fixing could have cost individual motorists thousands of dollars over the past ten years.

The European Union has also previously fined Shell as part of a 2006 price-fixing case involving bitumen, an oil byproduct used in road construction.

The EU said in that case, Shell and 13 other companies fixed the price of bitumen in the Netherlands. It penalized Shell with the largest fine of the group, saying the company was both a leader of the plan and a repeat offender.

The investigation into the possible price manipulation follows allegations that major banks falsely reported borrowing costs to influence a key interbank loan interest rate.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid