Georgia fines five large oil companies 55m GEL for price fixing
Friday, July 17Five large oil companies operating in Georgia have been fined millions of GEL for violating the country’s law on competition by artificially inflating fuel prices and acting in collusion.
Socar, Gulf, Rompetrol, Wissol and Lukoil were ordered to collectively pay a 55 million GEL fine for acting in concert while determining fuel prices in the local market.
Specifically, Socar should pay 14,381,385 GEL, Gulf - 11,267,384 GEL, Rompetrol - 10,845,806 GEL, Wissol - 10,426,393 GEL, Lukoil - 4,740,260 GEL and Lukoil - 1,209,890 GEL.
The remaining money was divided between smaller oil companies: Aaroni Ltd, Partnior Batumi, Trans Service, N Service, Didube 2009, Saridon Jijeishvili, MG Ltd, Adjara Partner, Partner 2010, Partner, G +, T4 Ltd, Rom Company, Gigo Ltd, Norex, ST Oil, Sab Pertrol, L&M, Ksilisi, Iber Company Petroleum, Geo Service and Rand Oil. Each company must pay 200 GEL.
An investigation by the Competition Agency revealed between 2008 and 2014 the five oil companies sold fuel in their branches at a fixed price based on mutual agreement.
The Agency also stated the oil companies imposed "deliberate obstructions” while doing business.
The Competition Agency spent eight months studying the activities of the five oil companies operating in the local market between 2008 and 2014. During its research, the Agency said it studied 50 volumes of company documents, which were 15,000 pages.
The Competition Agency was officially established in April 2015 after Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, in late 2014, ordered the Competition Policy and the Competition Regulatory Authority of Georgia to investigate fuel prices and implement control over the issue. At the time the PM said the price of oil had dropped by a large percentage in the world market but was not adequately reflected in the price of fuel at Georgian petrol stations.
The issue was debated in Government in late January when Garibashvili questioned why the price of oil in Georgia continued to be high despite the cost of the commodity falling around the globe. (Agenda.ge)