Statoil, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP are among oil companies named in price-fixing lawsuit brought by four oil traders.
New allegations of price-fixing
The three companies, along with others involved with the oil industry, are alleged to have attempted to manipulate the spot price for Brent oil market on multiple occasions since at least 2002.
The court documents list several incidents in which the accusers claim the market price could have been fixed.
Among others included in the lawsuit are investment bank Morgan Stanley and energy traders.
The four traders claim that one strategy to fix market prices was “spoofing,” in which the company places orders to move the oil price market with the intention of cancelling them later.
Brent crude is an important benchmark oil price based on North Sea production, which is used to set prices for two-thirds of world crude and determine the price of petrol and heating fuel.
In May, the European Commission launched an inquiry into suspected companies and raided their offices. It warned that even small manipulation of prices could have a profound impact on the “prices of crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels purchases and sales, potentially harming final consumers.”