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Tory MP: 'Enough is enough' with oil fixing allegations

Conservative MP Robert Halfon said the price of petrol at the pumps has risen by a "huge amount" since 2009.

Speaking to Daybreak he said he warned that petrol price fixing had gone on "a year ago".

He added: "We had a whistleblower approach us, we urged the office of fair trading to do a full investigation, they did a partial Sir Humphry investigation, and we say enough is enough."

EC: Oil price 'distortions' would 'harm consumers'

The European Commission said in a statement that even small distortions of assessed prices could have a "huge impact on the prices of crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels purchases and sales, potentially harming final consumers".

The statement said:

The European Commission can confirm that, on 14 May 2013, Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in and providing services to the crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels sectors.

The Commission has concerns that the companies may have colluded in reporting distorted prices to a Price Reporting Agency to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products.

Furthermore, the Commission has concerns that the companies may have prevented others from participating in the price assessment process, with a view to distorting published prices.

Any such behaviour, if established, may amount to violations of European antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and abuses of a dominant market position (Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and Articles 53 and 54 of the EEA Agreement).

– European Commission

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RAC: Oil fixing allegations 'worrying for motorists'

The RAC said it would "campaign for greater transparency in the UK fuel market." Credit: PA

RAC technical director David Bizley said the oil price fixing allegations were "worrying news for motorists" who are already suffering due to the high cost of keeping a vehicle.

He added: "The Office of Fair Trading inquiry concluded at the end of January that the UK fuel market was operating fairly and not against the best interests of motorists, and therefore that a Competition Commission investigation was not needed.

"Motorists will be very interested to see what comes of these raids. Whatever happens the RAC will continue to campaign for greater transparency in the UK fuel market and for a further reduction in fuel duty to stimulate economic growth."

Tory MP: 'Oil companies must now come clean'

Tory MP Robert Halfon has led a campaign calling for a full investigation into alleged cartels and market manipulation in the oil market for the past three years.

The Harlow MP, who founded the www.PetrolPromise.com website to campaign for cheaper petrol and diesel, said:

Last year, in a debate that I pressed for, Parliament voted unanimously for an investigation into the oil market.

These latest allegations underline why that must happen urgently in the UK.

High oil prices are crushing families across Britain. Motorists are being taken for a very expensive ride.

The Government has done its bit, by freezing fuel duty for three years.

Now oil companies must come clean and show some responsibility for what is happening to the international oil price.

Labour: Oil 'fix' reports 'suggest shocking behaviour'

Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said:

These are very concerning reports, which if true, suggest shocking behaviour in the oil market that should be dealt with strongly.

When the allegations of price fixing in the gas market were made, Labour warned that opaque over-the-counter deals and relying on price reporting agencies left the market vulnerable to abuse.

These latest allegations of price fixing in the oil market raise very similar questions.

Consumers need to know that the prices they pay for their energy or petrol are fair, transparent and not being manipulated by traders.

– Caroline Flint

Shadow financial secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie said:

If oil price fixing has taken place it would be a shocking scandal for our financial markets.

Labour tabled amendments in Parliament last year calling for commodities like oil to be part of the Financial Conduct Authority's regulatory net, but Ministers refused to act.

They should explain why they complacently failed to do so.

– Chris Leslie

Statoil confirms raid at Norway headquarters

Statoil has confirmed a raid took place at its headquarters in Stavanger, Norway, earlier today.

Statoil said the inspection was carried out by the EFTA Surveillance Authority with the assistance of the Norwegian Competition Authority.

Statoil has confirmed a raid took place at its headquarters earlier today. Credit: REUTERS/Kent Skibstad/NTB Scanpix

A statement on the firm's website said the inspection was carried out "on request of the European Commission".

"Statoil is cooperating with the authorities in their inspection", it added.

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BP 'cooperating fully' with EU oil price fix investigation

BP said it is 'cooperating fully' with the European Commission's investigation. Credit: Katie Collins/PA Wire

BP said it is "cooperating fully" with the EU's anti-trust body after it launched an investigation into allegations of oil price fixing.

A spokesperson said: "BP is one of the companies that is subject to an investigation that was announced earlier today by the European Commission.

"We are cooperating fully with the investigation and unable to comment further at this time", they added.

Shell 'fully cooperating' with oil price fixing probe

Shell confirmed its companies are assisting the European Commission with its investigation. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Shell has confirmed it is "fully cooperating" with the European Commission after the EU's anti-trust body launched an investigation into claims of oil price fixing.

A spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Shell companies are currently assisting the European Commission in an enquiry into trading activities.

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation. For legal reasons we cannot make any further comment at this stage”, the spokesperson added.

Oil giant Shell announce profits boost

Shell has announced a profits boost. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Oil giant Shell has announced bumper profits today of just under eight billion US dollars (£5.1 billion) for the first quarter of 2013.

It represents an increase of 4% from one year ago, while share prices also rose in the new figures.

The Anglo-Dutch company has weathered volatility in energy markets, including a recent drop in oil prices, with improved profits from refining and trading.

Oil and gas provide 'vital role' to Britain's future energy

Vince Cable on a visit to an assembly plant in Broughton yesterday Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The oil and gas industry will play a vital role in British energy needs for decades to come, according to three Liberal Democrat ministers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and Energy Secretary Ed Davey were in Aberdeen this morning to set out their long term strategy, aiming to boost investment and supply chains while promoting exports.

Mr Davey said the industry will play a huge role despite efforts to promote cleaner fuels and decarbonisation.

"The primary products, oil and gas, on all estimations will remain an integral part of the mix for many decades to come," he told an invited audience which included industry leaders and local politicians.

"Only the UK can deliver what is required over a sustained period if you are going to get the most out of the oil and gas industry. The UK is a large economy - that is why we can provide the support.

"Smaller economies have difficulty absorbing the costs.

"The size of the UK economy can really create the framework and certainty."

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