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Pallone Asks Oil Company Executives to Testify and Answer for Rising Gas Prices on April 6

Mar 16, 2022
Press Release
E&C Chairman Expresses Concern Oil Industry Is Exploiting the War in Ukraine for Its Own Economic Gain

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) wrote to six oil and gas companies today expressing concern that the industry is taking advantage of the crisis in Ukraine and global market shocks to keep prices artificially high and increase their own profits. He asked the executives of BP, Chevron, Devon Energy Corporation, ExxonMobil, Pioneer Natural Resources, and Royal Dutch Shell to testify before the Committee on Wednesday, April 6, to answer for their company’s business practices and address the industry’s impact on consumers.

“As American families confront high gasoline prices caused by the volatility of global energy markets and Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, I am deeply concerned that the oil industry has not taken all actions within its power to lower domestic gasoline prices and alleviate Americans’ pain at the pump,” Pallone wrote to the executives of the six oil companies.  “Instead, the industry appears to be taking advantage of the crisis for its own benefit.”

While Americans are now paying record prices at the pump, Pallone wrote that the oil industry continues to prioritize profits, dividends, and stock buybacks over consumers. Oil companies are currently seeing record profits and the companies invited are included in a group of 14 major fossil fuel companies that returned more than $35 billion to shareholders through stock buybacks or dividend increases last year.  

“As we watch the ongoing devastation in Ukraine, I am inspired by the bravery and patriotism of the Ukrainian people,” Pallone continued. “Here at home, I am proud to see reports this week that nearly 80 percent of Americans support Russian sanctions even if gasoline prices rise, but the financial sacrifices made by American families should be in service of the Ukrainian people, not oil company profits.”

He wrote that the industry appears to be exploiting the ongoing humanitarian and international security crisis to promote its domestic exploration and extraction agenda, while failing to utilize the resources it already has to increase production and lower prices. The fossil fuel industry has more than 9,000 unused drilling permits in its possession, he explains, with more than 26 million acres of U.S. public lands at its disposal – of which 53 percent is going unused.

“By keeping domestic oil production low and funneling revenue back to investors and executives, the oil industry is keeping energy prices—and profits—artificially high. And this is all happening at the same time the industry is taking advantage of generous production tax incentives provided by American taxpayers,” Pallone continued in his letter to the oil executives. “In order to assist the Committee in evaluating this situation and its impact on American consumers, I invite you to testify on these matters before the Committee on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.” 

Full text of the letters can be found here: