31 Mar 2011

US Justice Dept reportedly investigating American Samoa's ASPA and Mobil oil

9:50 am on 31 March 2011

The US Justice Department is allegedly investigating the more than 25 million dollar fuel supply contract between the American Samoa Power Authority and Mobil Oil.

KHJ News reports that attorneys of the department's antitrust division have questioned the Office of Petroleum Management, which supervises fuel operations in the territory, and asked for a copy of the contract.

In 1972, a federal court found that a fuel supplier operating in the territory in the 1950s and 60s, Standard Oil of California, had entered into illegal long-term contracts with tuna canners and Pan American World Airways in order to shut down competition.

Since the ruling, the fuel industry's been operated under a court plan, whereby suppliers in the market use storage facilities on a shared-cost basis with the American Samoa Government.

The Office of Petroleum Management has declined to comment as to whether the Justice Department has questioned it about the power authority's contract with Mobil.