Three of Europe’s biggest oil explorers are among companies being questioned by European antitrust regulators about potential manipulation of prices in the $3.4 trillion-a-year global crude market.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), BP Plc (BP/), Statoil ASA (STL) and Platts, the oil-price data collector owned by McGraw Hill Financial Inc., said they’re being investigated after the European Commission conducted raids in three countries to ferret out evidence of collusion. Price fixing in energy markets has the potential to inflate production costs and consumer prices for everything from gasoline to airline tickets to cosmetics.
The probe, which also extends to undisclosed crude-derived products and biofuels, marks the third time global pricing benchmarks have drawn the scrutiny of regulators in the past year. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is investigating allegations that brokers manipulated ISDAFix, the benchmark for the $379 trillion swaps market, to inflate bank profits, Bloomberg reported April 8.
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