27 Dec, 2023 @ 07:00
1 min read

Major oil company in Spain probed over unfair treatment of independent service stations

Top oil company in Spain investigated over unfair treatment of independent service stations
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SPAIN’S competition watchdog, the CNMC, has started disciplinary proceedings against the Repsol oil company for possible anti-competitive practices.

The issue concerns whether or not Repsol ‘abused its dominant position’ in the wholesale distribution market for automotive fuels in Spain.

The CNMC announced a probe on Tuesday into Repsol Comercial de Productos Petrolíferos, Repsol Directo, Repsol Customer Centric, Solred, Campsa Estaciones de Servicio and Repsol, for being present throughout the chain of the production and marketing process of car fuels.

The CNMC claims that the oil giant took advantage of its dominant position in Spain’s wholesale hydrocarbons market to carry out alleged transgressions between March and December 2022.

The watchdog also says that Repsol offered extra fuel discounts to service station customers through apps or loyalty and payment cards, while the price that third-party competitors – independent service stations – pay the company to buy fuel on the wholesale market.

It also suggests that it had the capacity to erode profit margins of independent stations and limit competition in retail distribution.

Repsol ‘sources’ speaking to the Europa Press ‘categorically’ rejected the accusations made by the CNMC and said that the company ‘does not have a dominant position in the Spanish fuel market and strictly complies with competition regulations’.

It added that Repsol had made ‘an enormous effort to help its customers through discounts and thus deal with the price increases resulting from the war in Ukraine’, with over €500 million allocated for discounts at its service stations in Spain.

The firm believes the CNMC has started a disciplinary probe ‘in a move aimed at favouring consumers’.

The investigation started following complaints filed by the National Association of Automatic Service Stations and the Association of Independent Hydrocarbon Marketers.

The CNMC probe could take up to two years and though it is branded as ‘disciplinary proceedings’, it does not prejudge a final verdict.

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