Oil companies may be stripped of physical oil trading, amid fixing fears.

FT: “Two weeks (ago)the European Commission had swooped on offices across Europe in pursuit of any evidence of price fixing in oil markets.” “Along with the oil majors BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil, and the Dutch trader Argos Energies, officials raided the Canary Wharf headquarters of Platts – the price reporting agency where Mr Montepeque has worked for decades.
The raids earned the oil market comparisons with Libor, the discredited interest rate rigged by some of the world’s biggest banks for years. They came as governments were already weighing direct supervision of the unregulated trade in physical oil. And they have added to fears among some participants that the market is only likely to become more opaque, if traders stop co-operating with price reporting agencies.
….Individual reporters at companies such as Platts are responsible for assessing many thinly traded markets at the same time. Traders can choose which transactions to report and, with billions of dollars at stake, there is a strong incentive to fix prices.
….Companies such as Platts are now undergoing their first external audits by accountants.
….For politicians and pundits, comparisons between the alleged manipulation of oil prices and the rigging of interbank lending rates have proved irresistible.
….Whatever their differences, however, the energy and finance industries do now face a common challenge: finding a transaction-based method for assessing benchmarks, which will satisfy regulators’ demands for transparency in the aftermath of the financial crisis.”