Gazprom, LUKoil Fined Over Prices

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has fined units of Gazprom and LUKoil for charging identical prices for gasoline and diesel, after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urged action on high charges for oil products.

Gazprom Dobycha Astrakhan received a fine of 14.3 million rubles ($560,000), and LUKoil Nizhnevolzhsknefteprodukt was told to pay 4.3 million rubles, the agency said in a statement on its web site Wednesday.

The units, the largest providers of oil products in the Caspian Sea region of Astrakhan, set "identical" prices for gasoline and diesel from the end of April to the middle of June, the statement said. The service opened price investigations into five oil producers after Putin called for a reduction in jet-fuel charges two months ago.

No one at Gazprom in Moscow was able to comment, and nobody picked up the phone at the Astrakhan unit's office. Dmitry Dolgov, a spokesman for LUKoil, declined to comment.