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Executives from Devon Energy Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp., BP Plc, Chevron Corp. and Shell Plc will be among the witnesses who plan to participate in a House hearing next week on skyrocketing gasoline prices, according to a person familiar with the matter. Pioneer Natural Resources Co. executives also may testify.
The April 6 hearing is planned by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose chair, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), has accused the oil industry of maintaining artificially high energy prices and profits “by keeping domestic oil production low and funneling revenue back to investors and executives.”
Earlier March 29, the House Natural Resources Committee announced the CEOs of EOG Resources Inc., Devon and Occidental Petroleum Corp. had declined to participate in a hearing planned next week to “examine the fossil fuel industry’s failure to help stabilize American gasoline prices.” The hearing has been canceled, a committee spokeswoman said.
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Devon, EOG and Occidental are among the most significant oil and gas operators on public lands and waters, according to the committee, and combined hold over 4,000 leases covering nearly 1.5 million acres of public land and over 2,800 approved and unused drilling permits.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the executives would agree to appear before one committee but not the other. A spokesman for Pallone’s committee didn’t respond to a request for comment. The chairman of the Natural Resources committee, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), issued a statement saying, “Their silence tells us all we need to know.”
Democrats have sought to shine a spotlight on the industry as oil prices have surged over $100 a barrel following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The industry has dismissed those complaints as “political grandstanding.”
The Senate Commerce Committee has invited executives from Exxon Mobil, Pioneer Natural Resources and BP for a future hearing it is planning on “The Corrosive Effect of Elevated Petroleum Prices on American Commerce and Consumers.”
West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, was hovering around $105 a barrel in late afternoon trading in New York after falling as much as 7.1% after Russia said it was taking steps to “de-escalate” the war in Ukraine. The national average for unleaded regular gasoline was $4.24 a gallon March 28, according to the automotive club AAA.
— With assistance from David Wethe and Kevin Crowley.
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