The City of Reykjavík is taking Icelandic oil companies Esso, Shell and Olís to Reykjavík District Court today, demanding compensation for unfair pricing.
The City of Reykjavík is demanding ISK 320 million (EUR 3.5 million, USD 4.5 million) in compensation and penal interest for illegal pricing of gas the City bought to run its buses and heavy machineries.
This is the single largest compensation case against the oil companies since Iceland’s Competition Authority searched the premises of Esso, Shell and Olís in 2001, suspecting a mutual illegal agreement on pricing. Fréttabladid reports.
In 2004 the Competition Authority determined that the three oil companies had repeatedly violated competition laws by agreeing on a joint pricing of fuel, gas, lubricants and other oil products from 1993 to 2001.
The Competition Authority concluded that the oil companies had made a profit of ISK 6.5 billion (EUR 70 million, USD 91 million) during that period.
The Competition Authority ordered Esso, Shell and Olís to pay a joint fine of ISK 2.6 billion (EUR 28 million, USD 36 million), but the three oil companies appealed the verdict, reducing the fine to ISK 1.5 billion (EUR 16 million, USD 21 million). The oil companies also appealed that verdict.
Sigurdur Hreinsson, a carpenter from Húsavík, northeast Iceland, is currently waiting to hear if he will be granted ISK 180,000 (EUR 1,932, USD 2,508) in compensation after taking Olís to court.
Steinar Gudgeirsson, advocate to the Supreme Court in Iceland and Hreinsson’s lawyer, told Fréttabladid that if Hreinsson will be successful in his case against the Olís, the oil companies can expect many other private citizens taking them to court.