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Posts under ‘Oil Price Fixing’

How Saudi Arabia Turned Its Greatest Weapon on Itself

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By ANDREW SCOTT COOPER: A version of this op-ed appears in print on March 13, 2016

FOR the past half-century, the world economy has been held hostage by just one country: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Vast petroleum reserves and untapped production allowed the kingdom to play an outsize role as swing producer, filling or draining the global system at will.

The 1973-74 oil embargo was the first demonstration that the House of Saud was willing to weaponize the oil markets. In October 1973, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia abruptly halted oil shipments in retaliation for America’s support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The price of a barrel of oil quickly quadrupled; the resulting shock to the oil-dependent economies of the West led to a sharp rise in the cost of living, mass unemployment and growing social discontent. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Shell calls for stronger regulation to avoid Middle East oil price distortion

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47Anthony McAuleyDecember 22, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell is lobbying to reform regional oil trading after a series of price squeezes, particularly by Chinese state oil firms.

In a highly unusual move, Royal Dutch Shell has called for greater regulation of the market to improve transparency and avoid price distortion.

Now, Shell is following up its public call with behind-the-scenes efforts to gather support for change, particularly from the regional state oil firms.

“There need to be safeguards to prevent the risk of distortion, and to ensure the Dubai benchmark price mirrors true market supply and demand fundamentals,” a Shell spokesman said. “Due to some of the unique characteristics of the Dubai market, it is susceptible to and can be heavily influenced by a market participant amassing a large portion of the available three crudes deliverable in that month.” read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Shell calls for tougher regulation of Dubai oil benchmark

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47HOUSTON/BENGALURU | BY LIZ HAMPTON AND ANKUSH SHARMA: Thu Dec 17, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell PLC on Thursday called for tougher regulation of the Dubai crude benchmark, the Middle East’s most important oil-pricing mechanism, after record trade volumes skewed prices.

Industry players have been calling on pricing agency Platts to review its Dubai assessment, saying record trading by Chinese state companies in August during the Market-on-Close process pushed liquidity to the limit and disrupted Dubai’s relationship with other global benchmarks. The Dubai marker sets the prices for more than 12 million barrels per day of Middle Eastern and Russian crude exports to Asia. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Big Oil Let Off Hook

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc and Statoil ASA no longer face an European Union investigation into potential manipulation of fuel benchmarks, the regulator indicated on Monday. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

By Aoife WhiteStephanie BodoniPeter Levring and Gaspard Sebag: 7 December 2015

  • EU’s Vestager shows willingness to dump cases going nowhere
  • Commission retreats from high-profile oil investigation

Days after dropping a high-profile probe into some of Wall Street’s top banks, the European Commission quietly sounded the retreat from an antitrust case that’s embroiled some of the world’s biggest oil producers since 2013. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

EU drops Shell, BP, Statoil from ethanol benchmark investigation

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Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 20.10.17Reuters – Mon, 7 Dec 2015 17:58 GMT

By Philip Blenkinsop and Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, Dec 7 (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators have dropped Shell, BP, and Statoil from an investigation into suspected rigging of ethanol benchmarks, focusing instead on three producers of the biofuel.

The European Commission said on Monday it had opened a formal antitrust investigation into the actions of Spanish company Abengoa SA, Belgium’s Alcogroup SA and Lantmännen ek för of Sweden.

In April, EU antitrust regulators raided several bioenthanol companies and at the same time stepped up a two-year investigation into biofuel price benchmarks. In 2013, it searched the offices of BP, Shell and Statoil too. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Oil Firms Dropped From EU Probe Into Fuel-Price Manipulation

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By Aoife White: December 7, 2015

  • Crude oil sector no longer under investigation in case

  • EU steps up case focusing on ethanol benchmarks rigging

Oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc and Statoil ASA, no longer face a European Union investigation into potential manipulation of crude oil benchmarks.

The European Commission “is currently not investigating further behaviors in price benchmarks for the crude oil sector,” Ricardo Cardoso, a spokesman for regulator said in an e-mail. He said the EU’s current probe focuses “on price benchmarks for the ethanol sector.”

Raids on Shell, BP, Statoil and price publisher Platts in May 2013 over suspected benchmark-rigging echoed probes into banks for trying to fix the London Interbank Offered Rate and foreign exchange markets. EU antitrust regulators levied 1.7 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in fines later that year over Libor manipulation. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

OPEC ‘dead’ as oil countries go it alone on price and production

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December 7, 2015

OPEC has abandoned all pretence of acting as a cartel. It’s now every member for itself.

At a chaotic meeting Friday in Vienna that was expected to last four hours but extended to nearly seven, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries tossed aside the idea of limiting production to control prices. Instead, it went all in for the one-year-old Saudi Arabia-led policy of pumping, pumping, pumping until rivals – external, such as Russian and US shale drillers, as well as internal – are squeezed out of market share. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Nigerian Probes Uncover $12bn Oil Fraud

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Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 17.18.45In 2012, the Senate investigated the contentious Malabu Oil Field transaction. The Upper House re-opened investigation into an allegation of $1.1 billion round-tripping involving the federal government and two international oil companies – Shell and Eni (Agip) – over the sale of a contentious OPL 245 oil block.


The National Assembly has conducted 18 legislative probes into sundry cases of crude theft, pipeline vandalisation, misappropriation, Joint Venture agreements, missing crude revenue in Nigeria’s corruption-tainted oil and gas sector from 1999-2014.

According to the outcomes of the selected major probes in the oil sector, about $15bn was lost to fraud while a whopping $6.8bn subsidy was unaccounted for. The period also witnessed the alleged missing N500bn SURE-P claims for oil subsidy for a period of time. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

EU Said to Ramp Up Oil-Benchmarks Probe With Evidence Request

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Regulators may be moving toward sending antitrust complaint

Probe began two years ago with raids on BP, Shell and Statoil

By Gaspard Sebag and Javier Blas: BLOOMBERG.COM: 17 Sept 2015

Major oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and price publisher Platts were told by regulators to redact business secrets from documents obtained during antitrust raids in a sign the European Union may be moving ahead with a two-year-old probe, according to four people familiar with the investigation.

The redaction request could be a precursor to the European Commission sending a formal complaint, or statement of objections, to some of the firms, said the people who asked not to be named because the investigation into fuel-benchmark rigging isn’t public. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Royal Dutch Shell, BP plc Oppose New European Oil Trading Regulations

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMANPublished: May 21, 2015 

Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) has sided with oil rival BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) in calling on European regulators to step back from enforcing tougher new capital requirements and increased disclosure measures pertaining to oil trading. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive or Mifid II regulations are being introduced by the European authorities, which will be applied in 2017. The regulations include capital requirement directive (CRD IV) the purpose of which is to mitigate systemic risks in the commodity, fixed income and equity markets. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Oil Price Fixing

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 20.23.44FROM A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR

Campaigns by or on behalf of Shell

It’s interesting that we have campaigns (one fronted by BP, but backed by Shell, and the other fronted by Shell’s lawyers, de Brauw) which will have the effect of avoiding regulation of oil trading activities, and will also decriminalise fraud for companies in Holland.

Both have been highlighted on your site in recent weeks.

Given the issues surrounding the banks’ manipulation of Libor and Forex, and the complaints by Total to the EU that Platt’s oil prices are not representative of the market, both of these proposals should be given very close scrutiny – the oil companies concerned cannot be trusted (any more than the banks) to exercise control of the market for their primary product. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Shell joins BP in calls against excessive oil trading regulation

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Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 16.05.44May 20 2015 | By: Carl Surran, SA News Editor

Shell joins BP in calls against excessive oil trading regulation

  • Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) joins BP in calling on European regulators to refrain from imposing stricter capital requirements and greater disclosure measures on oil trading.
  • Regulators would achieve undesired effects if companies and trading houses were forced to follow stricter capital requirement rules or be limited in their ability to trade derivatives, Shell VP for trading Mike Muller says, seconding recent statements from BP trading division chief Paul Reed.
  • Both BP and Shell trading divisions employ hundreds of people and trade millions of barrels of oil and refined products every day, and Shell’s trading business will become even bigger when it finalizes its acquisition of BG Group.
  • read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan



    A 194 page Complaint filed in the US Courts two months ago confirms that investigations are underway by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the EU Commission and the UK Serious Fraud Office into an alleged oil price-fixing conspiracy involving Shell, BP, Statoil and others. 

    The plaintiffs provide what they describe as “concrete evidence” within the Complaint of oil price manipulation.

    A link to the entire 194 page document is provided.

    Extracts from 194 page Court document dated 27 Feb 2015


    Case 1:13-md-02475-ALC Document 308 Filed 02/27/15



    1. This action arises from manipulations of North Sea Brent Crude Oil Market  (defined herein) by Defendants Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited (“STASCO”), Shell Trading US Company, BP pic (“BP”), BP America, Inc., BP Corporation North America Inc., Statoil ASA (“Statoil”), Statoil US Holdings Inc. (“Statoil US”), Morgan Stanley Capital Group, Inc. (“MSCGI”), Trafigura Beheer B.V., Trafigura AG, Phibro Trading LLC (“Phibro”), Phibro Commodities Limited, Vitol, S.A. (“Vitol”), Vitol, Inc., Hess Energy Trading Company, LLC (“HETCO”), Mercuria Energy Trading S.A., Mercuria Energy Trading, Inc., (collectively, “Defendants”) since at least 2002 through the present (the “Class Period”). read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

    Shell Subsidiaries Want Oil Price-Rigging Suit Dumped

    Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 21.26.38From an article by Aaron Vehling published 7 April 2015 by

    Shell Subsidiaries Want Oil Price-Rigging Suit Dumped

    Law360, New York (April 07, 2015, 6:31 PM ET) — Two Royal Dutch Shell PLC affiliates on Tuesday urged a New York federal court to dismiss them from a multidistrict litigation accusing them of manipulating crude oil futures, arguing that the plaintiffs haven’t alleged facts to justify the affiliates being named in the suit.

    Shell Trading (US) Co. and Shell International Trading and Shipping Co. Ltd., which replaced Royal Dutch Shell in the suit after the plaintiffs filed their second amended complaint in February, urged the court to dismiss claims accusing them of participating in a… read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

    EU investigates price fixing in energy markets

    Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 18.53.03The latest development follows the Libor rigging scandal and the raids carried out in May 2014 on the oil majors BP, Shell and Statoil, seeking evidence of manipulation of oil prices.

    By John Donovan

    On Tuesday, investigators for the EU Commission raided several companies producing and trading in biofuels.

    According to the commission, the surprise inspections resulted from possible collusion when submitting price information to a price reporting agency.

    The latest development follows the Libor rigging scandal and the raids carried out in May 2014 on BP, Shell and Statoil, in an investigation seeking evidence of oil price manipulation.

    More information can be found in a Financial Times article by Alex Barker: read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan

    Royal Dutch Shell News Monday 29 Sept 2014

    Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 14.02.38By John Donovan

    A selection of current news articles about Royal Dutch Shell from around the globe:

    Oil price fixing

    According to a Bloomberg article published by, the UK is considering whether to criminalize manipulation of the world’s most-traded crude-futures market.


    The UK is toughening the rules after the rigging of Libor and related gauges resulted in $6.5 billion in fines for at least 10 companies. European Union antitrust authorities raided the offices of companies including BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Statoil ASA in May 2013 amid allegations of collusion and price manipulation in crude, refined products and biofuels markets. read more and its sister websites,, and are all owned by John Donovan
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