Europe Raids Big Oil Firms, Looking for Price Rigging
BP, Shell, and Statoil involved
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted May 15, 2013 1:46 PM CDT
The head office of Statoil in Stavanger, Norway, in this file photo dated Jan. 18, 2013. Statoil's headquarters were raided by anti-trust authorities yesterday, along with BP's and Shell's.   (AP Photo / Kent Skibstad, NTB scanpix, File)

(Newser) – European authorities raided the offices of BP, Shell, Statoil, and other companies involved in the oil business yesterday, as part of an investigation into what they suspect is a more than decade-old conspiracy to rig oil prices. The European Commission said it had launched "unannounced inspections" of oil company offices in Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway, the Guardian reports. The companies have been accused of colluding to report artificially high prices to a benchmarking agency, much the way banks conspired to fix Libor rates.

"Even small distortions of assessed prices may have a huge impact on the prices of crude oil," which could in turn hurt consumers at the pump, the EC said in a statement, according to the Telegraph. While it didn't name its targets, BP, Shell, Norway's largely government-owned Statoil, and the price reporting firm Platts all say they're cooperating with investigators, with Statoil confirming a raid aided by Norwegian antitrust authorities. Though there's no timetable for the investigation, the AP believes political pressure is likely to mount for more regulation of the industry.

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Showing 3 of 24 comments
May 16, 2013 12:49 PM CDT
OMG, how much frikken money do they need?
May 16, 2013 11:38 AM CDT
Why are they now picking on the oil industry? The oil industry wouldn't rig a price! (I get my information from George W. Bush)
May 16, 2013 8:41 AM CDT
I'll like any story in which oligopolies shit their pants due to investigations. Why can't we do that in the US? Oh right, GOP loves giving blow jobs to "job creators".