May 12, 2008 / 6:29 AM / 11 years ago

Hearings planned on energy market speculation: report

Motorists queue to buy fuel at a gas station in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, Indonesia May 10, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A House committee has started investigating speculation in energy markets, with plans to hold hearings in May and June, the Wall Street Journal said on Monday, citing a Democratic aide and several other people invited as witnesses.

Lawmakers are aiming at hedge funds and investment banks in particular, blaming them for playing a crucial role in driving crude oil prices to record levels, the report said.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has scheduled a May 21 hearing on gasoline prices, which will bring up the issue of possible market manipulation, the Journal said, citing the aide and witnesses.

Representatives for the committee could not be reached immediately for comment.

Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman; Editing by Quentin Bryar

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