For Release:May 25, 2005
Concluding what it called a “thorough and exhaustive” 12-month process, the Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has closed its investigation into Shell Oil Products US’s (Shell) decision, announced in October 2004, to close its petroleum refinery in Bakersfield, California. Shell has since sold the refinery to Big West of California, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Flying J., Inc., which intends to keep it operational.
The FTC opened its investigation in March 2004, based on concerns that Shell was shutting the refinery to reduce capacity in refined petroleum products in an attempt to raise gasoline prices in California. The Commission found no evidence to substantiate this concern.
In voting to close its investigation, the Commission issued a separate statement that is available on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release. In the statement, it said, “After a thorough review of the evidence obtained during the investigation, the Commission has unanimously concluded that there would have been no basis under the antitrust laws for challenging the closing of the refinery even if it had not been sold. Indeed, we found that there was strong evidentiary corroboration of Shell’s stated reasons for closing the refinery. There was no evidence supporting a conclusion that Shell possessed, acquired, or exercised market power in any way . . . Nor was there any evidence suggesting collusion between Shell and any other person to close the refinery.”
The Commission vote to close the investigation and issue the statement was 5-0.
Copies of the Commission’s statement are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC’s Bureau of Competitionseeks to prevent business practices that restrain competition. The Bureau carries out its mission by investigating alleged law violations and, when appropriate, recommending that the Commission take formal enforcement action. To notify the Bureau concerning particular business practices, call or write the Office of Policy and Evaluation, Room 394, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, Electronic Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Telephone (202) 326-3300. For more information on the laws that the Bureau enforces, the Commission has published “Promoting Competition, Protecting Consumers: A Plain English Guide to Antitrust Laws,” which can be accessed at http://www.ftc.gov/bc/compguide/index.htm.
(FTC File No.: 041-0087)