The European Commission is looking into whether BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Norwegian company Statoil may have “colluded” to manipulate oil product prices.
The offices of all three were raided, along with the largest price-reporting agency Platts.
So far there have been no allegations of wrongdoing. The companies said they were cooperating.
Italy’s Eni revealed it had been asked to provide information but was not under investigation.
Commission spokesman Antoine Colombani explained why the investigation has been launched: “Even small distortions of assessed prices may have a huge impact on the price of crude oil, refined oil products and bio-fuel purchases and sales, potentially harming final consumers.”
The probe comes after French energy firm Total last year wrote to regulators questioning the way oil prices were determined.
That put the spotlight on the work of the price reporting agencies.
Platts and its smaller competitors argue that their systems are not susceptible to manipulation, but critics in the oil industry disagree.
It is the biggest cross-border probe since the Libor scandal. Authorities have sharpened scrutiny of financial benchmarks around the world since slapping large fines on some of the world’s biggest banks for rigging interest rate benchmarks.
“If it turns out to be the case that hard-pressed motorists and consumers have been hit in the pocket by manipulation in the market, the full force of the law should be down upon them. There is no doubt about that,” Britain’s Energy Secretary Ed Davey told the UK parliament.
London is home to some of the biggest trading desks in the oil business.
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 3Caught red-handed: the Russian Major fighting in Ukraine
- 4Video footage shows massive explosion in Tianjin, China
- 5Ukraine puts top Russian general Gerasimov on ‘most wanted’ list
- 6Why World Elephant Day matters
- 7Momentum for Mars: Astronauts say mission is inevitable
- 8Latest News Bulletin
- 9Who came out top in the US Republican television debate?
- 10UK: at least 7 dead after plane crashes into road in Brighton
- 11Snowden, Assange and Manning statues unveiled in Berlin
- 12Virginia:TV journalist and cameraman shot dead live on air
- 13ISIL militant group claims to have killed Croatian hostage in Egypt
- 14Earth Overshoot Day…Pushing Mother Nature too far
- 15Windows 10, three weeks on: the good, the bad and the ugly
- 16Bringing the trolls out of the dark: Russian ‘troll’ awarded 1 rouble damages
- 17As ‘Daily Show’ Jon Stewart’s tenure ends, scholars say goodbye to their research topic
- 18European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 19International news | euronews, latest international news
- 20Scientists find sinkhole cave under Mexico’s Kukulkan Castle Pyramid
Wires > Business
- 05:08 CET Australia retail sales post surprise dip in July, trade data better
- 04:10 CET Toshiba to post annual net loss of about 54 million pounds -…
- 04:05 CET EU regulators clear Shell’s takeover of BG Group
- 04:01 CET Japan Aug PMI survey shows services expand at fastest pace in…
- 02:03 CET IMF staff warn G20 of increasing downside economic growth risks
- 00:50 CET HSBC Argentina makes proposal to cenbank amid tax evasion probe
- 23:49 CET Pimco Total Return assets drop below $100 billion, first time…
- 23:35 CET Twitter announces global expansion of self-service ads platform