Refineries told to boost transparency

Greece’s Competition Commission called on the country’s two largest refineries, Hellenic Petroleum and Motor Oil, to boost transparency on cost issues in order to help promote competitiveness in the industry. Sources said that Greece’s refineries and fuel traders are expected to heavily oppose the measures proposed in the report made public yesterday. The commission’s decision requires refineries Hellenic Petroleum and Motor Oil to make public storage-related costs that are passed on to fuel traders and large final customers, the Hellenic Competition Commission said in a statement. Additionally, the report requires that refineries price their products in a manner that allows independent petrol retailers to directly obtain supplies, it added. The commission, which is supervised by the Development Ministry, launched an investigation into the fuel market after claims that competition in the sector had been distorted. In August, the Development Ministry imposed a ceiling on the price of fuel on several of the country’s islands in a bid to force price reductions. Petrol station owners had described the move as «unfair,» arguing that such moves should be imposed on the entire supply chain, including oil refineries. Other measures called for in yesterday’s report relate to increasing the information provided to end users and deregulating trading hours. The commission proposed expanding initiatives aimed at better getting information to consumers, such as informing drivers about petrol prices via SMS message, and installing electronic signs on highways showing prices ahead at the next two service stations. Additionally, it suggested that petrol station owners be allowed to operate around the clock in island areas between the months of May to September. It was not immediately clear whether the ministry is likely to adopt the proposals or shelve the report. According to Greek law, Development Minister Christos Folias has 30 days to decide whether the measures will be implemented.