Climate Power Executive Director Responds to House Energy and Commerce Oversight Hearing on Oil Profiteering

Oil and Gas Executives Shirk Responsibility, Distract from Record High Energy Prices, Promise Windfall Profits to Shareholders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Hearing, Climate Power Executive Director Lori Lodes issued the following statement in response to oil and gas executives and their allies in Congress shirking responsibility for record high gas prices and doubling down on returning windfall profits to their shareholders:

“Oil and gas CEOs made billions in profits last year. Now, Putin is committing war crimes in Ukraine and families are paying record gas prices and these companies are set to break their record-setting profits from last year. The statements from Big Oil executives today made it clear: oil and gas executives should not be trusted with our nation’s energy security as they put their own profits ahead of American families.

Instead of providing solutions to ease pain at the pump, oil and gas executives and their Republican allies in Congress tried to distract from their enormous profits being used for stock buybacks and executive bonuses. ​​Executives have the permits they need to increase supply right now, yet they are choosing to sit on them so they can keep gas prices high. And they have chosen to line their own pockets during a time of war and an ongoing pandemic instead of helping American families. Fossil fuel companies must be held accountable.”

Additional background information: 

  • RECORD PROFITS: In the last year, the companies – bp America, Chevron, Devon Energy, ExxonMobil, Pioneer Natural Resources, and Shell – have made a combined $76.4 BILLION in profits. 
    • While Putin has been invading Ukraine, Occidental Petroleum posted its best quarter EVER with its shares soaring 101% over the start of 2022 and Exxon’s profits in Quarter 1 are expected to be the highest in 7 years.
  • STOCK BUYBACKS: Since gas prices began spiking, the biggest O&G companies have authorized $88 billion back to shareholders through stock buybacks ($38bln) and dividends ($50bln).
    • HIGH GAS PRICES: During the last year, the average price of a gallon of gas increased from $2.94 to $4.27 a gallon – a 45% increase.
    • MASSIVE Oil & Gas POLITICAL DONATIONS: Oil and gas execs have funneled $14.4 MILLION in donations to the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee – a WHOPPING $11.5 MILLION of that went to Republican members. 
    • PRODUCTION: Instead of increasing their current production or developing the 9,000 unused government leases, Oil & Gas CEOs are using record profits for stock buybacks for wealthy shareholders and executive bonuses for themselves.
  • IT’S ABOUT PROFITS: Only 6% of oil company execs cite government regulations as the reason for restraining production growth while 59% cite pressure from investors.