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FTC to Allege Big Oil Colluded With OPEC to Raise Price of Oil, Hurt American Consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  As part of a consent decree to allow Exxon Mobil to buy Pioneer Natural Resources for $60 billion, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will bar former Pioneer Chief Executive Officer Scott Sheffield from serving on Exxon’s board of directors, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal.  In the coming days, the Commission will allege Sheffield undertook activities that could have raised the price of oil and that he “sent hundreds of messages to representatives of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) about market dynamics, including pricing and production levels,” according to the Journal. In response, Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, issued the following statement: 

“Congress must immediately hold hearings on Big Oil’s alleged collusion with OPEC to raise gasoline prices for Americans. The accusations that will reportedly be included in the FTC’s consent decree are explosive, pointing to efforts that would undermine the proper functioning of the global market for oil, raising prices for American consumers. 

“Congress must not only investigate Pioneer’s alleged role in conspiring with OPEC, but whether there existed a broader conspiracy by U.S. oil companies to collude with OPEC nations. Big Oil must be held accountable for any conspiracy by or among American oil companies and OPEC members.”

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