Merkley, Wyden Join Colleagues in Letter Demanding FTC to Immediately Investigate Record-Breaking Oil Deals, Protect Americans from Increased Prices at the Pump

Big Oil mega-mergers involve some of the largest oil companies in the world, reducing competition and forcing American families to pay more at the pump

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden joined Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and 20 of their Senate colleagues in a letter to the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Lina Khan, demanding the Commission protect American consumers by investigating record Big Oil mergers. The Senators are calling attention to the anticompetitive harms these mergers would present, which could potentially raise prices for Oregonians at the pump.

ExxonMobil’s (Exxon) has proposed a $60 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources (Pioneer), while Chevron is pursuing a proposed $53 billion acquisition of Hess Corporation (Hess).

“By allowing Exxon and Chevron to further integrate their extensive operations into important oil-and-gas fields, these deals are likely to harm competition, risking increased consumer prices and reduced output throughout the United States. At the regional level, the deals threaten to harm small operators and suppress wages. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) must carefully consider all of the possible anticompetitive harms that these acquisitions present,” the Senators write.

These mergers are two of the largest petroleum takeovers in American history and two of the biggest petroleum deals of the 21stcentury. These proposed acquisitions could be disastrous for American consumers – greatly reducing competition and driving up gas prices at the pump.

“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,” the Senators’ letter continues.

With the unprecedented gas prices of last summer potentially caused by price gouging by oil companies – that has continued into this year – more consolidation of Big Oil companies will only leave American consumers paying more at the pump. 

“It is incumbent upon the FTC to closely review the Exxon-Pioneer and Chevron-Hess acquisitions and take appropriate action should such reviews uncover any possible anticompetitive effects enabled by the acquisitions,” the letter concludes. 

In addition to Merkley, Wyden, and Leader Schumer, this letter is also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Fetterman (D-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Full text of the letter can be found here