Everything Is Rigged II: European Commission Raids Oil Companies in Price-Fixing Probe

I have no time to write myself as I have had wwoofers for the last 4 weeks plus the next two weeks helping me get some serious shit done on my little farmette!

We now have a new lined shed with all the tools and machines moved in.  A roof in my part of the new shed and a veggie garden being planted for winter.

We also have a painted container and the old shed becoming a horse stable. We’re ahead about three months of what I thought we could achieve thanks to these guys and galls!

But and that is a big but they do need a lot of guidance so not a lot of time to write.

So here is some stuff from people who do this for a job!

From Matt Taibbi:

We’re going to get into this more at a later date, but there was some interesting late-breaking news yesterday.

According to numerous reports, the European Commission regulators yesterday raided the offices of oil companies in London, the Netherlands and Norway as part of an investigation into possible price-rigging in the oil markets. The targeted companies include BP, Shell and the Norweigan company Statoil. The Guardian explains that officials believe that oil companies colluded to manipulate pricing data:

The commission said the alleged price collusion, which may have been going on since 2002, could have had a “huge impact” on the price of petrol at the pumps “potentially harming final consumers”.

Lord Oakeshott, former Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said the alleged rigging of oil prices was “as serious as rigging Libor” – which led to banks being fined hundreds of millions of pounds.

The inquiry also involves Platts, the world’s largest oil price reporting agency. The concept here is very similar to both the LIBOR scandal, which involved banks manipulating the benchmark rates for interest rates, and to the possible rigging of interest rate swap prices through the manipulation of ISDAfix, the benchmark rate for those instruments, which is also the subject of a regulatory probe.

We wrote about both of those scandals in last month’s Rolling Stone article, “Everything is Rigged.” In that piece, finance professionals talked about the potential for manipulation in other markets that involve voluntary price reporting:

What other markets out there carry the same potential for manipulation? The answer to that question is far from reassuring, because the potential is almost everywhere. From gold to gas to swaps to interest rates, prices all over the world are dependent upon little private cabals of cigar-chomping insiders we’re forced to trust.

“In all the over-the-counter markets, you don’t really have pricing except by a bunch of guys getting together,” Masters notes glumly.

That includes the markets for gold (where prices are set by five banks in a Libor-ish teleconferencing process that, ironically, was created in part by N M Rothschild & Sons) and silver (whose price is set by just three banks), as well as benchmark rates in numerous other commodities – jet fuel, diesel, electric power, coal, you name it.

One analyst I spoke to for that piece talked specifically about Platts (and another, similar price assessment company), noting that they “do benchmarks for the entire oil market, the entire refined products market” and “you name it” – any of these benchmarks that rely on voluntary reporting could be manipulated.

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One thought on “Everything Is Rigged II: European Commission Raids Oil Companies in Price-Fixing Probe

  1. Totally agree that everything is rigged. WordlWar Three is already in progress using environmental weapons (HAARP) to cause earthquakes (when the perpetrators are not using this technology on (nto in) Canterbury to look for oil and gas deposits worth fracking.
    Watch the sky, sceptics. Soon enough you will see the HAARP signs in the sky. And the media stories that the PTB (powers that be) tell you that these are harmless natural phenomona will wear thin – because everything will start to look and feel downright creepy and unnatural – because that’s what HAARP is – unnatural

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