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Spanish Regulator Probes Repsol Over Allegations of Market Manipulation

 |  January 1, 2024

Spanish oil giant Repsol is currently under investigation by the country’s antitrust authority, the National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC), over allegations of abusing its dominant position in the wholesale fuel market. The CNMC contends that Repsol may have engaged in manipulative practices to benefit its own petrol station network, disadvantaging independent service stations in the process.

The CNMC’s probe focuses on the period from March to December 2022, during which it alleges that Repsol manipulated wholesale fuel prices to favor its proprietary service stations. The accusations suggest that the company provided additional fuel discounts to customers using its service stations through applications or loyalty and payment cards. This alleged preferential treatment is seen as an attempt to bolster Repsol’s retail network at the expense of its independent competitors.

Moreover, the CNMC claims that Repsol increased the costs imposed on independent service stations, which are its third-party competitors, to purchase fuel on the wholesale market. This move is perceived as an attempt to hinder the competitiveness of independent fuel station operators by raising their operational expenses.

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The CNMC initiated the investigation following complaints filed by two prominent associations representing the interests of independent fuel station operators. The National Association of Automatic Service Stations and the Association of Independent Hydrocarbon Marketers voiced concerns about Repsol’s alleged anti-competitive practices, prompting the antitrust authority to launch a comprehensive inquiry.

Repsol, a major player in the Spanish energy sector, has yet to respond publicly to the allegations. The company’s actions and decisions during the period under investigation will be thoroughly examined as part of the CNMC’s efforts to ascertain the validity of the claims. If the allegations are substantiated, Repsol could face significant fines and potential corrective measures imposed by the antitrust authority.

Source: Off Shore