Four oil traders claim in court that BP, Shell and others fix oil spot market.

Bloomberg: “Four longtime traders in the global oil market claim in a lawsuit that the prices for buying and selling crude are fixed – and that they can prove it.” “Some of the world’s biggest oil companies including BP, Statoil and Royal Dutch Shell conspired with Morgan Stanley and energy traders including Vitol Group to manipulate the closely watched spot prices for Brent crude oil for more than a decade, they allege. The North Sea Brent benchmark is used to price the majority of the world’s crude and helps determine where costs are headed for fuels including gasoline and heating oil.
The case, which follows at least six other US lawsuits alleging price fixing in the Brent market, provides what appears to be the most detailed description yet of the alleged manipulations and lays out a possible roadmap for investigators.
The traders who brought it – who include a former director of the New York Mercantile Exchange, or Nymex, one of the markets where contracts for future Brent deliveries are traded – allege they paid “artificial and anticompetitive prices” for Brent futures. They also outline attempts to manipulate prices for Russian Urals crude and cite instances when the spread between Brent and Dubai grades of crude may have been rigged.
The oil companies and energy-trading houses, which include Trafigura Beheer and Phibro Trading, submitted false and misleading information to Platts, an energy news and price publisher whose quotes are used by traders worldwide, according to the proposed class action filed on 4 October in Manhattan federal court.
….Several companies named in the suit have been the focus of previous suspicions of price manipulation. In May, European Union antitrust authorities raided the offices of companies including Platts, BP and Shell based on allegations of collusion in setting prices of crude, refined products and biofuels. The authorities have not announced their findings or charged anyone.”