A raid in Europe on the offices of two of the world’s biggest oil companies has aroused suspicions that motorists and others in countries including Australia are being tricked into paying too much for petrol, reports The Guardian.
The European Commission (EC) raided the offices of BP and Shell, as well as the Norwegian oil firm Statoil and the world’s leading oil price reporting agency Platt’s.
The EC says it has concerns that the companies may have conspired to “manipulate the published prices” for a number of oil and biofuel products.
So-called “benchmark” prices like that of Brent Crude are understood to be at the centre of the investigation.
If companies have been manipulating these, even by small amounts, the EC says it can have “a huge impact” on prices further down the line.
The EC says its unannounced inspections do not mean that the companies are guilty, and Shell and BP both say they are co-operating with the investigation.
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