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Energy and environment

Oil and its derivatives

The EU is heavily dependent on oil, in particular for use in the transport sector and for domestic and industrial use in some Member States. In 2005 18% of this demand was produced within the EU (in particular in the UK and Denmark), but this is declining and the EU as a whole is a significant importer of oil and derivative products (in particular from Russia (30%), Norway (17%), the Middle East (19%) and North Africa (12%)).

Oil has many uses, and the oil industry has many distinct sectors, such as exploration and production, and related services; refining; transportation; and wholesaling and retailing, notably as transport fuel.

DG Competition’s main involvement with these sectors has been through merger control. Owing to the large size of many oil companies and their global activities, many mergers and joint ventures have fallen within EU competence.

On the anti-trust front, the European Commission has adopted a formal decision under EC Treaty competition rules which renders legally binding commitments entered into by the Spanish motor fuel company REPSOL. These commitments have the effect of opening up its long term agreements with service stations. REPSOL will free hundreds of service stations from long-term exclusive supply contracts. This will bring a wider choice and scope for reduced prices to the benefit of the consumer. Read the press release here.

In 2007, following pressure from the Commission, the Maltese Government changed its law to remove its previous oil monopoly. Read the press release here.

Related links
Oil (Commission’s department for Energy and Transport)