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Shell’s Peter Voser: we have ‘nothing to hide’ on oil pricing

Royal Dutch Shell, one of the energy giants under investigation for suspected oil price rigging, has “nothing to hide”, its chief executive Peter Voser has said.

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By 6:02PM BST 05 Jun 2013

European Commission investigators raided Shell’s offices last month on suspicion the oil major could have colluded with BP and Norway’s Statoil to manipulate the price-reporting process for more than a decade.

“The investigation is ongoing and we are co-operating. It is for the European Commission to find evidence and facts at this stage,” Mr Voser said, declining to comment on details of the investigation.

But he added: “Transparency is a key word. It’s not just on pricing side, it is on taxation and in general how we do business. Shell has always been at the forefront of driving transparency. We have nothing to hide.

“We are happy to engage and discuss, be as transparent as one has to be or can be. The only thing which we are asking is for is a level playing field.”

He said it should not be the case that some companies, industries or companies were disadvantaged by being “treated in a different way” compared with big emerging countries like China.

Last month the Telegraph revealed that Shell had argued against the draft European market abuse proposals designed to stop insider dealing, arguing they would require it to disclose too much information about, for example, refinery breakdowns. Shell argued the plans could lead to “price spikes”, greater volatility and “higher bills for consumers”.

Mr Voser, speaking at a CBI event in London on Wednesday, also reiterated Shell’s cautious stance over the potential impact of shale gas in the UK, warning it was “a little bit dangerous to think this will go like in the US or Canada”.

“We don’t know how much is there, what flow rates we will have, how much we can actually develop,” he said.

Prime Minister David Cameron told a New York business audience last month that he was “pretty jealous” of America’s fracking success, and on Monday told MPs he wanted to make sure that Europe did not impose regulation that could “stop the exploitation of shale gas”.

Meanwhile Chancellor George Osborne is proposing tax breaks for fracking and has said he does not want Britain to be left behind as US gas prices tumble.

Shell has already ruled itself out of taking a role as a shale gas pioneer in the UK, with chief financial officer Simon Henry declaring the company does not want to be “in the headlines every day”.


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