FTC Must End Big Oil Merger Mania

FTC’s Price Gouging Allegations Against War Profiteer a Wake-up Call to End Merger Mania

Washington, D.C.–Explosive new findings from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reveal that ex-Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield colluded with the OPEC+ price-fixing cartel. The proposed merger with Exxon will be permitted to proceed only if Sheffield is prohibited from joining Exxon’s board. 

“Stopping one price-fixer from joining one board is not enough. The FTC’s own revelations are a wake-up call that Big Oil’s merger mania must be stopped,” said Lukas Ross, Deputy Director of Climate and Energy Justice at Friends of the Earth.

Pioneer is among several Big Oil culprits of war profiteering in recent years. Just six days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as energy prices ballooned amidst humanitarian disaster, Sheffield executed a stock sale, netting himself a personal windfall of over $5 million. Between 2021 and 2022 in the year following the Russian invasion, Pioneer would continue to shovel outsized returns to shareholders, with dividends rising from $1.658 to $6.120 billion, over 250 percent. Stock buybacks also increased, from $250 million to over $1.6 billion, over 500 percent. 

“This new evidence of price-fixing shows just how dangerous it is to let Big Oil become Bigger Oil,” added Ross. “It is dangerous for consumers, for the climate and for democracy to let this runaway consolidation proceed.”

Contact: Shaye Skiff, [email protected]

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