Investing

Vitol and SK Settle California Fuel Probe for $50 Million

A driver returns a fuel nozzle to a gas pump at a Chevron gas station in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, March 7, 2022. The average price of gasoline in the U.S. jumped above $4 a gallon for the first time since 2008 in a clear sign of the energy inflation thats hurt consumers since Russia invaded Ukraine. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- California’s attorney general said it reached a $50 million settlement with commodity traders Vitol Group and SK Energy Americas Inc. after it alleged the firms acted together to manipulate local gasoline markets.

It’s the latest instance in which commodity traders have faced legal enforcement over market manipulation in the US. Vitol and SK Trading were alleged to have manipulated Californian gasoline markets in 2015 when a refinery in Torrance exploded.

“Vitol is pleased the matter has been resolved,” a Vitol spokesperson said in a statement. “Any allegations of wrongdoing by Vitol are untrue and unfounded.” 

SK Energy Americas didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In 2020, Vitol paid more than $160 million to settle charges in the US over corruption and attempted manipulation of physical oil benchmarks.

(Updates with statement from Vitol in third paragraph)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.