Spanish oil company Repsol is currently under scrutiny by the country’s antitrust authority for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the wholesale fuel market.

The investigation by the CNMC alleges that Repsol may have manipulated wholesale prices to favour its petrol station network.

CNMC alleged that Repsol provided customers of its service stations with extra fuel discounts via applications or loyalty and payment cards.

It also raised the cost that independent service stations, Repsol’s third-party competitors, must pay to purchase fuel on the wholesale market.

Repsol’s activities under investigation span from March to December 2022.

The CNMC’s investigation was triggered by complaints from two associations — the National Association of Automatic Service Stations and the Association of Independent Hydrocarbon Marketers — representing independent fuel station operators.

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By GlobalData

They alleged that this practice could have unfairly increased Repsol’s market share at the expense of independent stations.

“Given Repsol’s position in the wholesale [fuel] market, the conduct would have represented an exclusionary strategy against third-party competitors—independent service stations. Furthermore, they would have had the ability to erode the commercial margins of such competitors and limit competition in retail distribution,” the CNMC’s statement read.

In response, a Repsol representative told Reuters that: “The regulator is investigating us for something that benefited consumers. We categorically reject the terms of the file opened by CNMC.”

Earlier this month, Repsol signed an agreement with Venezuelan state-owned oil and gas company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

Under the agreement, Repsol and PDVSA aim to increase oil and gas output in Venezuela through its joint venture, called Petroquiriquire.

PDVSA owns a 60% stake in Petroquiriquire while Repsol owns the remaining 40% stake.

The JV operates in the oil fields of Mene Grande and Barúa Motatán in Zulia and Trujillos, respectively, and Quiriquire in the state of Monagas.