BP and Shell accused of rigging oil prices for over a decade

BP and Shell are being investigated into allegations they colluded to rig oil prices for more than a decade.

BP and Shell are being investigated into allegations they colluded to rig oil prices for more than a decade.

The European Commission raided offices of several oil companies in London, the Netherlands and Norway in an unannounced inspection to look to claims they conspired to "distorted prices to a price reporting agency [PRA] to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products".

The commission said the allegations could have had a major impact on the price of petrol, potentially harming the end consumer, The Guardian reported. The alleged price collusion is said to have been going on since 2002.

Lord Oakeshott, former Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, demanded to know why the UK authorities had not taken action earlier and said he would ask questions of the British regulator in Parliament.

"Why have we had to wait for Brussels to find out if British oil giants are ripping off British consumers?" he asked. "The price of energy ripples right through our economy and really matters to every business and families."

The Office of Fair Trading had ruled out an investigation into petrol price fixing four months back due to "very limited evidence".

European authorities declined to name the companies raided but BP, Shell, Norway's Statoil and Platts, all confirmed they are being investigated.

In a statement, Shell said: "We can confirm that Shell companies are currently assisting the European commission in an inquiry into trading activities."

Meanwhile, BP said: "BP is one of the companies that is subject to an investigation that was announced by the European commission. We are co-operating fully with the investigation and unable to comment further at this time."

RD

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