The EU is making it easy for the Prime Minister to do nothing on oil scams. It’s one of the reasons he wants us all to stay in the EU…& Reason No. 37 for you to Vote Leave
For some two years now, the Prime Minister (who got a double 1st in Bullingdon & Tax Evasion Studies at Oxford) has been struggling with the complex issue of whether or not oil companies are profiteering when it comes to gas and petrol prices. Almost exactly two years ago today in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron declared himself at PMQs to be “extremely concerned by claims of price fixing by major oil companies”, following the raid on the offices of BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Norway’s Statoil by European anti-trust regulators some five months earlier.
Immediately after the raid, the EU task force crackdown team of ruthless data-mining forensic experts leaked that BP and Shell in particular would face charges that they had been ‘fixing prices for a decade’. So having had five months to mull things over, the UK’s PM decided to ‘get tough’ and announce, in answer to Ed Miliband’s question, that he wanted “an immediate inquiry into competition in the energy industry”. Five months after the EU had already raided most of it. He felt the need, he told MPS, “to inject some urgency into” the process….that is, from the government of which he himself, Slog sources can reveal, was head. And he promised the “full force of the law” would be brought down on the companies if the allegations were found to be true.
Since that time, not a lot has happened. In January 2014, the Business Industry & Skills Committee in Parliament noted that ‘Britain has become an international centre for mining, oil and gas companies – Glencore Xstrata, Shell, Centrica, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, and BP’, which was most perspicacious of them. Since then of course, events in the case of Glencore have injected some urgency into the loss of its share value, such that the outfit may well collapse before it is prosecuted. But elsewhere in the Inquiring space, urgency is hard to find.
To be level playing field about all this, the investigation is the EU’s ball….and they haven’t so much run with it as sort of side-footed it around. This has forced a reluctant Prime Minister to tell his many mates in the oil business that he is powerless to obstruct until such time as he hears more from those useless oiks in Brussels who won’t – I don’t know I really don’t – *rolls eyes to heavens* – pull fingers out, roll up sleeves etc etc. And also of course allowed him to say to the media, MPs and last of all us that his hands are tied, because he hasn’t been able to roll his sleeves up as yet. But you just wait: when the moment arrives he’ll be terribly pumped-up and raring to Go.
Rarig to go for rump-pumpy is good…and now made excellent: because last month it was reported that there was going to be ramping up. EC leakers told Bloomberg journos that Major oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and price publisher Platts have been informed by regulators that they must redact business secrets from documents obtained during the antitrust raids. This, said Bloomers, is a sign that Brussels is up for some rampy-pampy in the probe that is now two years old. Happy Birthday dear probe.
Anyway, using my now infamous network of pan-Galactic moles, I can today exclusively bring to Sloggers far and wide some much needed evidence to clarify this hugely complex issue. Lets first of all look at the
Bent Brent oil price during the last two years:
Using skills developed over 35 years of strategic communications analysis and Maths O-level, I deduce from the above chart that the oil price fell by almost exactly two-thirds during 2014, and after a brief, feeble rally in 2105, has remained at that level.
The RAC however – representing the motoring classes – has this to say about the price of diesel and petrol at the retail pumps over that time:
For our convenience, the oilcos have ensured that both petrol and diesel did very similar things. I didn’t get where I am today – somewhere where nobody knows where I am today – without the ability to extrapolate two things from this chart:
- Retail prices fell by 28.6% in 2014….under half the fall in the price of raw materials during that time
- In 2015 so far, prices rose at first by a median level of roughly 19%, and then fell by 15%…giving us a net price increase at the pumps of 8%.
The bottom line is this: last year, UK car fuel prices should have been 50p a litre….whereas they were on average (time and volume allowed for) 110p a litre. This year, the price ought to have been in the 60-70p range, whereas thus far it has nestled quietly in the 105-118p range.
Now there will be naysayers to this astounding level of conclusive genius from The Slog. They will say things like, “Oh but there were other factors – for example the increasing price of exploration, refining costs, defending ourselves against pernicious EU investigation and so on”.
But I’m sorry, it is so much rot. The very thing that drove prices UP after 1995 was virtual abandonment by the oilcos of exploration in favour of what energy experts call fat-arsed bonuses and share options. The one thing that has remained almost exactly constant in all this is refining costs. And if you cheat and get caught, don’t pass the price onto me, thank you very much.
We do not need any more EU delays on bringing the oilmen to justice, we need to getTF out of the EU. Then having done that, we will have a far clearer line of accountability with which to getTF away from Camerlot and all its jerks.
What we need is some applied common sense, legislators dependent on us – not the corporate donors, and then some serious tax-or-else threats being delivered to the selfishly feral human tendency busy reducing our spending power and increasing our living costs.
This has been reason No 37 for Vote Leave.