MUST WATCH: CNN Exposes Oil Companies’ Profiteering Off Americans’ Pain at the Pump

“They are hiding their real agenda, making money for them and not passing it on to consumers, in plain sight.” – Dana Bash


DATE: March 17th, 2022

CONTACT: Erik Mebust, [email protected] 

Washington, D.C. –  CNN reported on the oil & gas industry’s profiteering off of high gas prices driven by pandemic recovery and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Referring to statements made by CEOs on investor calls, CNN’s reporters showed that the industry’s public statements are covering up a strong, industrywide prioritization of profits over affordable prices for consumers.

As CNN’s René Marsh put it, “U.S. oil production is increasing, but it’s happening at a very slow pace compared to previous periods of high gas prices. The fossil fuel companies would like Americans to believe that is because of climate policies, but these calls show that is simply just not the case.”

The segment ran the same day that President Biden called out Big Oil for “pad[ding] their pockets at the expense of hard-working Americans.” 

Fossil fuel executives have for months declared loudly and in public that they plan to keep prices high and continue to profit. As prices rose last year, the top 25 oil companies took home $205 billion in profits, with Chevron calling 2021 one of its “most successful years ever.” Right now, the industry is choosing to keep supply tight and prices high so they can send $88 billion back to shareholders through stock buybacks ($38bln) and dividends ($50bln).


Here are the CEO statements highlighted by CNN:


Occidental CEO Vicki Hollub

On the day Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, Hollub said “we have no need to invest in production growth this year.”

Marathon Oil CEO Lee Tillman

“Our cash-flow driven return of capital framework uniquely prioritizes our shareholders as the first call on cashflow generation, not the drill bit.”

Pioneer Natural Resources CEO Scott Sheffield

“We’re not going to change our growth rate. We think it’s important to return cash back to the shareholders.”

Diamondback CEO Travis Stice

“No one wants to see that shareholder return program, you know, put at risk with volume growth.”