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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
BP facing US oil prices lawsuit
US oil refinery operated by BP
BP is facing a number of lawsuits in the US
BP is facing a fresh lawsuit in the US, alleging it manipulated oil prices by limiting access to important storage facilities in 2003 and 2004.

Oil futures trader Richard Hershey claimed he suffered financial damage as a result of BP's alleged action, which he said artificially affected prices.

BP said it had not seen the lawsuit and therefore could not comment.

The oil giant is already facing a lawsuit stemming from problems at its Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska.

'Market abuse'

In a further separate legal action, BP has been accused of manipulating propane prices in the US in 2004.

The latest lawsuit, lodged with a Federal Court in New York, claims that BP either owned or controlled 30% of storage facilities at the Cushing petroleum facility in Oklahoma.

"BP abused its dominant market position by not making available space at its crude oil storage facilities in Cushing to market participants who were obligated to deliver crude oil at Cushing," the lawsuit alleges.

This resulted in the price of future crude oil contracts trading at "prices higher or lower than otherwise would have prevailed".

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