Energy & Environment

Natural Resources chair says three oil execs refusing to testify

Greg Nash

Three oil company CEOs have refused a request by the House Natural Resources Committee to testify on disparities between oil and gas prices, Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said Tuesday morning.

Grijalva said in a statement that executives from EOG Resources, Devon Energy Corporation and Occidental Petroleum had declined to appear at the hearing, set for next Tuesday. The hearing will be canceled as a result of the executives’ refusal, Grijalva said.

“As rising gas prices started hurting Americans, fossil fuel industry trade groups and their allies in Congress wasted no time placing blame on the Biden administration and pushing for a drilling free-for-all. But when you look at oil companies’ record profits, these claims don’t add up,” Grijalva asserted.

“I invited these companies to come before the Committee and make their case, but apparently they don’t think it’s worth defending. Their silence tells us all we need to know—that cries for more drilling and looser regulations are nothing more than another age-old attempt to line their own pockets.”

President Biden and Democrats in Congress have sought to blame oil companies for continued consumer pain at the pump, even after a more recent dip in oil prices. Industry experts, however, have said the lag between price drops is common and not the result of any deliberate action.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) has called a similar hearing set for April 6. The broader list of companies asked to send a representative to that hearing — BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Pioneer Natural Resources and Royal Dutch Shell, along with Devon Energy — told The Hill earlier this month that they were reviewing the request.

A spokesperson for Devon confirmed to The Hill that a representative would only attend the April 6 hearing. A spokesperson for EOG confirmed to The Hill that the company declined Grijalva’s request. Occidental Petroleum did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Gas prices began to climb in 2021 after demand, which had plunged in 2020 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, soared ahead of supply as restrictions lifted. Other factors, such as the conflict in Ukraine, have contributed to the increase as well, and Biden warned that his decision to ban Russian oil imports would likely lead to further increases.

Updated: 2:14 p.m.

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