European Union antitrust authorities carried out inspections at oil companies in three countries and a price-index publisher Tuesday, part of an investigation into whether oil firms distorted published prices.
"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 European Commission said in a statement. "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."
That price-reporting firm was Platts, owned by McGraw Hill Co., a Platts spokeswoman said. Spokespeople for U.K.-based BP PLC, Anglo-Dutch firm Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Norway's Statoil ASA said Tuesday they have been inspected and are cooperating with the probe. Platts also said it is cooperating.