The ongoing investigation by the European Commission (EC) into potential price manipulation of Price Reporting Agency (PRA) Platts’ Atlantic basin crude benchmark is generating increasing alarm among a wide range of market participants. The fear is that the investigation, whatever its outcome, could act as a Trojan Horse for a more heavy-handed regulation of crude markets.

Unusually, Platts’ pricing chief, Jorge Montepeque, was in Vienna on the sidelines of the 31 May OPEC meeting. His visit was presumably to discuss with key producers the implications of the EC investigation, which also involved raids on the trading offices of Shell, BP and Statoil (MEES, 24 May). (CONTINUED - 479 WORDS)