4 Dec 2009 13:00

Court cancels 4.2 bln ruble FAS fine against TNK-BP

TYUMEN. Dec 4 (Interfax) - Arbitration court in Tyumen region has nullified a fine totaling 4.197 billion rubles that the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) imposed on TNK-BP for violations of anti-monopoly law, an Interfax correspondent reported from the court room.

An FAS official told Interfax the service would appeal the ruling.

The FAS imposed the fine on TNK-BP for abusing its commanding position on the wholesale oil products market in the first half of 2009.

The FAS also fined Gazprom Neft 4.675 billion rubles for the same reason. That fine was also canceled, by arbitration court for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region in early November. The FAS plans to appeal that ruling as well.

Two other companies that were fined - Lukoil for 6.54 billion rubles and Rosneft for 5.28 billion rubles - are also disputing them in court.

It is the second time the FAS has imposed fines on the oil majors for abusing their market position.

The first time around, the FAS fined four companies 1 billion rubles each in the third quarter of 2008: Rosneft - 1.508 billion rubles, Lukoil - 1.443 billion rubles, Gazprom Neft - 1.3 billion rubles, and TNK-BP 1.12 billion rubles.

The FAS and oil company officials are currently trying to jointly work out a product pricing formula for Russia's domestic market. The FAS proposed using prices on the Rotterdam exchange as a benchmark. The oil companies want to include other trading floors: Mediterranean, Singapore and U.S.