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Germany keeping watch on oil firms amid recent price swings

BERLIN (AP) – German antitrust officials said yesterday they are closely watching oil market developments to determine whether the falling price for crude results in a similar drop at the pump.

The Federal Cartel Office said its probe will encompass the crude market, oil refineries, wholesalers and gas station operators. Some experts have expressed concern that companies could exploit oil price volatility to increase their profit margins, especially if governments increase fuel subsidies to cushion consumers from the burden of high prices.

Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck, said he had asked antitrust authorities to “act on any signs of abusive behaviour”.

“It must not be possible for companies to profit in an undue way from the current situation,” he said, referring to the war in Ukraine that has contributed to the sharp rise in oil prices.

A cab driver fills up his vehicle with gasoline at a gas station in Berlin, Germany, yesterday. PHOTO: AP