The National Competition Agency of Georgia has completed the investigation of five economic agents in the motor fuel market. The issue concerns the maintenance of high prices in the retail market of motor fuel in the period March-August 2022, as a result of coordinated action.
As the National Competition Agency explains, as a result of the investigation conducted by the agency, it was confirmed that - LLC "Lukoil-Georgia", JSC "Visol Petroleum Georgia", LLC "San Petroleum Georgia", LLC "SOCAR Georgia Petroleum" and LLC "Rompetrol Georgia" violated the Article 7 of the Law of Georgia "On Competition". In particular, it concerns directly or indirectly determining the purchase or sale price or other trading conditions.
"According to the agency's assessment, during the period under review, in the case of specific companies, non-European fuel with a lower cost compared to European fuel was available, and in some cases, a specific company/companies sold European fuel with a low cost only on the wholesale market, including to competing companies. In both cases (European and non-European fuel), there was a lack of competitive advantage derived from fuel cost. As a result, a high price was maintained in the retail market of motor fuel, which, according to the agency's decision, was the result of the coordinated action of the 5 companies. According to the decision of the agency, the appropriate financial sanction was imposed on five economic agents - up to 4 million GEL in total. Namely: "San Petroleum Georgia" LLC - 1,073,998 GEL; "Rompetrol Georgia" LLC - 987,886 GEL; "SOCAR Georgia Petroleum" LLC - 719,310 GEL; JSC "Visol Petroleum Georgia" - 693,576 GEL; "Lukoil Georgia" LLC - 450,590 GEL. Also, in order to improve the competitive environment in the market, a necessary recommendation was given, which implies - the introduction of procedural mechanisms necessary for more effective control of the accuracy of fuel filling. In accordance with the legislation, companies can appeal the agency's decision to the Tbilisi City Court. Due to the high public interest and the strategic importance of the market, the agency continues to monitor the market of motor fuel (gasoline, diesel). The evaluation period of the agency covers the period of January-August 2022," reads the statement.