An investigation into BP plc's commodities trading activities has been widened by U.S. authorities to include its U.S. crude oil and storage business activities, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In a 6-K filing with the SEC, BP said a probe into the trading operations of BP Products North America Inc. was extended to 1999 from 2002 by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The CFTC and the DOJ "are currently investigating various aspects of BP's commodity trading activities, including crude oil trading and storage activities, in the U.S. since 1999 and have made various formal and informal requests for information," the filing noted. BP said it had "provided, and continues to provide, responsive data and other information to these requests."

BP confirmed that the investigation had been extended but the company had no additional comment. The CFTC and DOJ also declined to provide additional comment.

Last year, BP said it was being investigated by the CFTC for allegedly manipulating crude oil and unleaded gasoline markets in 2002, 2003 and 2004 (see NGI, Sept. 11, 2006). BP also is facing allegations by the CFTC that it manipulated the U.S. propane market in February 2004 (see NGI, July 3, 2006). In late 2004, BP America Inc. paid $100,000 to settle charges with the CFTC of engaging in illegal wash trading in the power market in 2000 via an electronic trading platform (see NGI, Nov. 8, 2004).

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