Democratic committee chair calls oil CEOs to testify amid gas price spike

The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee is asking the CEOs of three major energy companies to testify, as Democrats in Congress and the White House seek to blame the ongoing surge in gas prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin and oil firms.

Chair Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., wants to hear from the CEOs of EOG Resources, Devon Energy Corporation and Occidental Petroleum at an April 5 hearing.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee also asked executives at BP, Chevron, Devon Energy, ExxonMobil, Pioneer Natural Resources and Royal Dutch Shell to testify April 6.

Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum, speaks during the 23rd World Petroleum Congress conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Dec. 8, 2021 in Houston. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Rick Muncrief, chief executive officer and president of Devon Energy Corp., speaks during an interview in New York, on Monday, Feb.  28, 2022. (Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Rick Muncrief, chief executive officer and president of Devon Energy Corp., speaks during an interview in New York, on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. (Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)

President Biden faced criticism for sharing a chart with incorrect data as he accused energy companies of seeking to “pad their profits at the expense of hardworking Americans.” The White House has also coined the phrase “#PutinPriceHike,” and used TikTok influencers to advance their message.

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Grijalva sent separate letters to EOG’s Ezra Yacob, Devon’s Rick Muncrief and Occidental’s Vicki Hollub.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., makes a closing statement during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 29, 2020. (Photo by BONNIE CASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images )

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., makes a closing statement during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 29, 2020. (BONNIE CASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The chairman zeroed in on EOG saying in February that it did not plan to boost production and saying that 2021 was a “record setting year.” EOG has more than 1,800 approved but unused permits to drill, Grijalva said.

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The industry has said that a permit is merely the first step in a process that includes discovering whether any oil or gas is in the ground to extract.

In his letter to Devon Energy, Grijalva claimed the company has over 700 approved but unused drilling permits. And the chairman accused Occidental Petroleum of wanting to “prioritize $3 billion in stock buybacks and increase dividends in 2022” over reducing gas prices.

Devon Energy declined to comment to FOX Business on whether Muncrief would appear before the committee next month.

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The American Petroleum Institute, a trade group representing energy companies, responded to the political criticism, saying that, “Across the economy, retail prices in many industries go down slower than they go up — this isn’t a new phenomenon.”

“As we’ve seen in the past, it takes time for changing market conditions to work through the supply chain and for the price of crude oil to be widely reflected in the price we pay at local gas stations, more than 95 percent of which are independently owned small businesses and not operated by oil companies,” American Petroleum Institute senior vice president Frank Macchiarola told FOX Business.

Ticker Security Last Exchange Change %
EOG EOG RESOURCES INC. 117.87 +4.87 +4.31%
OXY WESTERN PETROLEUM CORP. 57.09 -0.91 -1.57%
NDV DEVON ENERGY CORP. 57.52 +5.06 +9.65%

FOX Business has also reached out for comment to Occidental Petroleum and EOG.

FOX Business’ Suzanne O’Halloran contributed to this report.

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