Illinois-based bio-product company Green Oil Co. has filed a claim against LUKOil, Saudi company Aramco, and state-owned Venezuelan producer PdVSA on charges of price fixing. The company is demanding that the defendents sell their U.S. assets, worth a total of $25 million, according to the Russian business daily, Kommersant.
Green Oil alleged that the three companies have been artificially manipulating production quotas for years, setting unjustified prices for crude oil and petroleum products, essentially harming independent gas station owners in the U.S.
Green claims that in early 2002 Saudi Aramco, PdVSA and LUKoil agreed with oil companies in Oman, Mexico, Norway and Angola to reduce production for six months, thusaused an increase in wholesale and retail oil as well as product prices in the U.S. market. Green Oil also made allegations about other oil companies, including Russia’s Rosneft, stating these other companies were also involved in the scheme, although they are neither defendants nor third parties in the case.
LUKOil is fighting the charges.
“The Green Oil allegations, made in a claim filed with the Illinois District Court, are entirely untrue,” said a company spokesman, adding that the company is preparing to file a counter claim.