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LUKoil and Rosneft Fined by Antitrust Regulator

Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service imposed on Wednesday a $53 million fine on state-run oil giant Rosneft and a $51 million fine on Russia's largest independent crude producer LUKoil

RIA Novosti reported citing FAS Spokeswoman Irina Kashunina that the two oil companies had fixed monopoly prices for gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation fuel and fuel oil in the summer. The regulator warned the companies against violations and started calculating fines in the fall.

The 1.5 million ruble and 1.44 million ruble fines were slightly lower than FAS had said might be imposed. In an earlier press release, the regulator said Rosneft's fine could be $63.5 million, while LUKoil was facing a $53 million fine.

In similar rulings late in November, Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of the Russian energy giant Gazprom, was fined $47.85 million, and Russian-British joint oil venture TNK-BP $39 million.

The regulator demanded in October that seven oil producers lower fuel prices amid falling oil prices on the global market. The FAS referred then to the EU and the United States, where gasoline prices had fallen 15%-20% since summer, while fuel prices almost remained unchanged in Russia.

The antimonopoly service on Wednesday promised tougher sanctions against crude producers, unless they follow global competitors and lower fuel prices.

Author: Ksenia Kochneva