OIL company BP is being investigated over allegations of price-fixing, it emerged last night.
The European Commission (EC) said a series of unannounced inspections were carried out by its officials on oil companies earlier in the day.
A spokesman for BP said: “BP is one of the companies that is subject to an investigation. We are co-operating fully and are unable to comment further at this time.”
Shell and the Norwegian company Statoil also confirmed they were being investigated.
An EC statement said: “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.
“Any such behaviour, if established, may amount to violations of European anti-trust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and abuses of a dominant market position.”
The EC added that even small distortions of assessed prices could have a “huge impact … potentially harming final consumers”.