Statoil ASA can pay $four million to settle U.S. prices that the vitality firm tried to control a key propane benchmark to learn its NYMEX-cleared swaps place, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) mentioned on Tuesday.

In a press release, the U.S. regulatory company mentioned Statoil, majority-owned by the federal government of Norway, tried in late 2011 to control the Argus Far East Index, a key index of propane costs.

A Statoil spokeswoman confirmed the settlement however mentioned firm wouldn’t remark additional. “We have labored cooperatively with CFTC to resolve that matter,” she added.

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After struggling important losses it its fuel liquids all through 2011, Statoil took bodily and monetary positions, together with NYMEX-cleared swaps, that may profit from a rising Argus Far East Index. Ultimately, the strikes didn’t transfer the index and put the corporate at additional threat for losses, the CFTC mentioned.

Statoil bought cargoes in the course of the November index window, hoping to sign that demand was excessive and put upward strain on propane costs. The purchases had been described internally as “bullets” for his or her capacity to maneuver the market.

The efforts to push the worth had been found in e-mail communications, the CFTC mentioned.

“If we’re shopping for 17 cargoes there are just a few days after we will be unable to have impression on the Argus quote … We are literally prone to transfer it fairly a bit up as we maintain shopping for …,” one dealer wrote.

In the tip, the strikes failed to attain the specified aim. One dealer mentioned purchases of propane cargoes within the Argus window “[have] not been sufficient to maintain the [price] up.”

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James McDonald, the CFTC’s director of enforcement, mentioned: “Manipulation in our markets impedes free and honest competitors and dampens financial progress. As this case exhibits, we are going to work tirelessly to root out manipulation in our markets wherever it happens, to make sure members in our markets have faith they’re competing on a stage enjoying discipline.”

Source: www.reuters.com

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