UPDATE 1-Bulgaria’s anti-monopoly watchdog raids fuel retailers offices

(Adds Lukoil’s comment, details)

Bulgaria’s anti-monopoly watchdog
raided the offices of two fuel retailers as part of an
investigation into the country’s only oil refinery and seven
fuel retailers for possible cartel agreements to fix prices of
petrol and diesel.

“The Commission for Protection of Competition raided several
offices of Lukoil and Rompetrol in the
capital Sofia,” the commission’s spokesman said on Wednesday.
“Our goal is to try to collect as much evidence as possible.”

Rompetrol declined to comment on an ongoing investigation. A
spokeswoman for Lukoil’s Bulgarian unit said the company was
fully cooperating with the anti-monopoly commission.

“We are open and transparent. We call for unbiased and equal
treatment, and checks of all players in the fuel retail market,”
the spokeswoman, Maya Zhekova, said.

In February, the watchdog started investigating the
Bulgarian units of Lukoil and Rompetrol as well as units of
Royal Dutch Shell, OMV, Hellenic Petroleum
, Nis Petrol, majority owned by Russia’s Gazprom Neft
, and Bulgarian Petrol.

It has also launched a probe into the Lukoil Neftochim
Burgas oil refinery regarding possible abuse of its dominant
position related to the sale of its fuels on the local market.

The investigation followed complaints by Bulgarians over
high fuel costs despite a plunge in global oil prices and a
request by Prime Minister Boiko Borisov that the competition
authority hasten checks on the fuel sector.

The competition authority launched a full investigation
after an analysis of the EU country’s fuel sector between 2013
and 2015. It found that the retail price policies of the seven
companies were very similar and too slow to reflect falls in
wholesale and production prices.

(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov and Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing
by Jon Boyle)

The article UPDATE 1-Bulgaria's anti-monopoly watchdog raids fuel retailers offices was originally published at Reuters - US Energy.