Britain pledges to clamp down on oil firms amid price fix claim

Suzie Neuwirth
BRITAIN’S energy minister yesterday said that oil companies would face full retribution if they have manipulated prices, as the European Commission’s probe throws the industry’s practices into the spotlight.

“If it turns out to be the case that hard-pressed motorists and consumers have been hit in the pocket by manipulation in the market, the full force of the law should be down upon them,” said Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

Oil giants BP, Shell, Statoil and ENI have all confirmed that they are under investigation by the EU antitrust regulator.

The probe into oil prices has been likened to the Libor scandal, when banks were found to have manipulated interbank lending rates.

Last year the Office of Fair Trading found no evidence of price fixing in the oil market, but yesterday campaigning Tory MP Robert Halfon said the OFT’s probe had been “limp-wristed and lettuce-like”.