WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) joined an effort demanding the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Lina Khan, protect consumers by investigating and cracking down on Big Oil mergers that greatly reduce competition and drive up gas prices at the pump. ExxonMobil’s proposed $60 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources and Chevron’s proposed $53 billion acquisition of Hess Corporation would be two of the biggest petroleum deals of the 21st century and could be detrimental to consumers.
In a letter, Rosen and her fellow Senators wrote, “Exxon’s and Chevron’s operations downstream would enable them to redirect Pioneer’s and Hess’s crude supply to themselves, away from (and possibly to the detriment of) their midstream competitors. These new market dynamics could result in price hikes for midstream customers, and such added costs are often passed downstream to retail customers, including drivers at gas stations.”
Americans have felt the negative effects of unchecked Big Oil mergers for decades. A wave of nearly 3,000 mergers in the 1990s caused the number of major American energy companies to plummet, creating a Big Oil oligopoly in which oil companies have continued to see increasing profits, and consumers are left with higher gas prices.
The letter goes on to say, “By 2005, due to the wave of mergers, the top five controlled 55 percent of the market, and the largest ten had 81.4 percent. This increase in concentration enabled the largest players to manipulate the industry by withholding supply in order to drive up prices, and since most of the firms were also vertically integrated, they benefited from higher prices at the retail level, as well.”
Full text of the letter is below and available here.
Senator Rosen has been a leader in fighting to lower costs for hardworking Nevadans. Last week, she announced funding to help families lower their energy costs and fund energy-efficient home repairs through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Rosen also helped secure several wins in the Inflation Reduction Act that will help lower energy and health care costs. This comes in addition to the critical legislation that Senator Rosen helped introduce to alleviate supply chain issues.