While British politicians are railing against the possibility that oil company BP has participated in oil price manipulation, Norwegian politicians are mostly quiet over the prospect that Statoil of Norway has done the same. Meanwhile, the whistleblower has been identified as a small ethanol firm in Hungary.
BP, Statoil, Royal Dutch Shell and Platts in London were raided by EU competition authorities last week, on suspicions they’d been cooperating on price-setting for the past 11 years. Statoil has promised full cooperation with the regulators, but has found itself in a highly uncomfortable position.
Neither government ministers nor politicians in opposition have criticized Statoil, saying it’s a case for Statoil’s management and board to deal with. Investors and analysts have seemed far more concerned, reports newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN), noting that Statoil may be hit with huge fines and a tarnished reputation.
News bureau Reuters, meanwhile, reported that the raid was rooted in complaints filed with the EU Commission by Pannonia Ethanol of Hungary, a small firm that produces biofuels. It tried to participate in Platts market-on-close system, which decides prices based on offers, counteroffers and trade, but claims it was hindered from doing so. Platts responded to DN that all its participants must meet the demands of its methods, but that it was concerned with integrity and transparency.