Russian antitrust may levy high fines on oil cos for high fuel prices

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Sep 7 (PRIME) — Russias Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) may levy fines amounting to several billion rubles on oil majors Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, and Rosneft for excessively increasing prices of diesel fuel, the services Director Igor Artemyev said Wednesday.

Artemyev said that the excessive increases in diesel fuel prices set by the oil majors were recorded towards the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. He also added that the main reason of FAS submitting claims against oil companies is that the latter often set prices of oil products on the home market higher than those on the world market.

Moreover, FAS plans to determine the size of fines to be levied on the oil companies in September, the services representative Irina Kashunina told PRIME.

In mid-August, FAS found Rosneft guilty of violating antimonopoly law by setting high prices for diesel and jet fuel in OctoberDecember 2010 and in January 2011. Earlier, the regulator found Lukoil and Gazprom Neft guilty of setting high prices for diesel fuel in the same period.

In February, the watchdog probed a number of Russian oil companies for the third time over excessive prices. The service launched two antimonopoly cases for similar violations against oil majors Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, and TNK-BP in 2008 and 2009. The total volume of fines levied by FAS on oil companies in 20082009 amounted to about 26 billion rubles, though the regulator decreased its sanctions to 15 billion rubles after signing a number of agreements with the companies.

(29.6107 rubles U.S. $1)


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