* Raids follow announcements from Statoil, Shell
* Commission also requested inspections in one non-EU member
(Adds further detail)
BRUSSELS May 14 Officials carried out raids in
three European countries on Tuesday on several companies active
in pricing oil, refined products and biofuels, the European
The Commission said it had concerns the companies may have
colluded to manipulate published prices and may have prevented
others from taking part in the assessment of market prices.
It did not identify the firms, but the announcement followed
separate statements by Norway's Statoil and Anglo-Dutch
Royal Dutch Shell as well as price reporting agency
Platts that they were working with the authorities in their
The Commission said its inspectors raided companies in two
EU member states and had asked for similar action in a non-EU
member by European Free Trade Association (EFTA) officials.
Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step to
investigate suspected anticompetitive practices.
There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into
suspected anti-competitive conduct and the Commission said the
raids did not mean the companies were guilty of any charges.
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; editing by Rex Merrifield)