Allegations of oil-price manipulation by large firms in the energy sector are "extremely concerning," U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said Wednesday.
"The European Commission is investigating, and we would expect any companies which it wants to talk to to fully comply with these investigations," he told reporters at a briefing. "We would further add it would be deeply worrying if prices have been driven up for consumers, especially given that we are as a government doing what we can to help people with the cost of living."
European Union antitrust authorities Tuesday carried out unannounced inspections of giant energy companies BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Statoil ASA, escalating a probe of alleged oil-price manipulation amid scrutiny of how prices are set in global financial markets.
EU officials are investigating whether the three companies manipulated prices in the physical-oil market by giving false data to an oil index publisher, the Platts unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc. (MHP).
Platts's offices were also inspected Tuesday.
"These are serious allegations and they need to be investigated," Mr. Cameron's spokesman said.
An official from the government's Department of Energy and Climate Change is due to give a statement to parliament on the issue at 1130 GMT, he said.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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