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House Democrats Launch Investigation into Price Fixing by Big Oil

Investigation begins after FTC alleged former Pioneer Energy CEO worked with OPEC to hike oil prices for consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday launched an investigation into seven of the largest oil and gas companies to potentially inflate gas prices. In early May, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) barred former Pioneer Chief Executive Officer Scott Sheffield from serving on Exxon’s board of directors as part of a consent decree that would allow ExxonMobil to buy Pioneer Natural Resources for $60 billion. The FTC alleged Sheffield undertook activities that could have raised the price of oil through communications with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).  In response to the formal launch of a wider investigation by House Democrats, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, issued the following statement: 

“Blockbuster evidence revealed by the Federal Trade Commission shows Big Oil may have been colluding with OPEC to limit oil production. All along, the real culprit in the oil price spike that drove global inflation was Big Oil’s greed. But it’s a whole other matter, if it was not just greed, but illegal collusion. It’s imperative that Congress – and the Department of Justice – get to the bottom of this story, which is why the announcement of House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Rep. Frank Pallone’s investigation is so important.”

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