FAS suspected Rosneft of creating a deficit in the gasoline market

The company may face a fine of more than 90 billion rubles.
On Tuesday, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) issued a warning to Rosneft. The department suspects that the company's actions led to an artificial shortage in the Ai-92 gasoline market, the FAS said. "Rosneft", according to the service, from March 28 to April 3, reduced gasoline sales and at the same time increased the purchase of Ai-92 from Surgutneftegaz. This led to an artificial growth of the stock index by 2% at the St. Petersburg International Commodity Exchange (SPMMEX). During this time, 1 ton of AI-92 on SPbMTSB went up by 1.5% to 45 390 rubles., Follows from the data of the stock exchange.

The Antimonopoly Service demanded to stop creating discriminatory conditions. "We are against the situation in which one vertically integrated company buys fuel from another during the main session on the exchange, for this there is an additional session," says Dmitry Makhonin, head of the FAS Fuel and Energy Complex Control Department. According to him, this affected the balance of supply and demand, led to the growth of quotations. Price indicators are formed within the framework of the main session, but large players are recommended to trade at an additional session, so as not to directly affect prices.

A representative of Rosneft said that the company "always strictly adheres to the FAS recommendations." Why, from March 28 to April 3, Rosneft reduced the sale of Ai-92 through the exchange and increased its purchases from Surgutneftegaz, the company spokesman declined to speak.

A total of 7.9 million tons of high-octane gasoline (AI-92 and AI-95) and 6 million tons of diesel fuel are sold annually through the St. Petersburg Stock Exchange. Companies are required by order of the FAS from 2015 to sell through this site at least 10% of their gasoline and at least 5% of diesel fuel. In 2017, Rosneft produced 15.3 million tons of high-octane gasoline (Ai-92 and AI-95) and 11.8 million tons of diesel fuel at its refineries. It sells 26% of gasoline through the exchange, the representative of the company said. Thus, last year, the share of Rosneft accounted for half of the gasoline sold at the exchange.

FAS believes that Rosneft violated the law on the protection of competition, and ordered the company to eliminate the consequences of the violation by April 17 and then report back to the FAS within three days. "If the FAS warning is fulfilled, there will be no punishment. If Rosneft fails to comply with the demand, it can not challenge the warning in court (or will not contest it), then the company may face a fine of 1 to 15% of revenue for the previous year in the relevant market (but not less than 100,000 rubles). " , - says senior associate of BMS Law Firm Taras Khizhnyak. In 2017, the company earned 609 billion rubles from the sale of high-octane gasoline. (10% of the total revenue of Rosneft), so a negotiable fine can be from 6.1 billion to 91 billion rubles. Usually FAS determines the average size of the penalty in the absence of mitigating and aggravating conditions and it is about 7.5%, Khizhnyak knows.

Indeed, there is a systemic problem of exchange trades - the purchase of petroleum products in the main trading session by the oil companies themselves, said the president of the Russian Fuel Union, Yevgeny Arkusha. As a result, the quantity of goods sold to the market is reduced, which leads to an increase in prices, he says. "But for Rosneft this situation is atypical, and this case is more a manifestation of a technical error," Arkusha said. What kind of mistake could happen, he did not explain. Representatives of Rosneft and SPbMTSB refused to talk about this.

At the retail price of gasoline in the Moscow region, the artificial deficit was reflected weakly: the Ai-92 liter rose from March 28 to Tuesday at 16 kopecks.