Chair Grijalva Invites Fossil Fuel Executives to Testify on Increased Gas Prices Amid Industry’s Record Profits, Unused Drilling Permits

Washington, D.C.  Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today sent invitations to the chief executive officers of three fossil fuel companies—EOG Resources, Devon Energy Corporation, and Occidental Petroleum—to testify at a Committee on Natural Resources hearing to be held Tuesday, April 5 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. The hearing will examine the fossil fuel industry’s failure to help stabilize American gasoline prices, which have skyrocketed in the weeks following Vladimir Putin’s brutal and deadly attack on Ukraine.  

In response to rising gas prices, the fossil fuel industry and its proponents have ramped up pleas for more oil and gas development on U.S. public lands and waters. These demands contradict the fact that fossil fuel companies are currently sitting on millions of acres of non-producing leases and hold more than 9,000 approved, but unused permits for drilling on public lands and waters. The companies invited to testify at the hearing are among the top oil and gas leaseholders and have the most unused permits.

In the letters, Grijalva calls out the three companies for blaming high gas prices on Biden administration policies, while simultaneously sitting on unused permits and raking in record profits: 

  • EOG Resources currently has over 1,800 approved, but unused drilling permits, the most of any company. On a recent earnings call, the company bragged that 2021 was a “record-setting year” thanks in part to $2.7 billion in cash returns to shareholders. The company also highlighted its commitment to not increasing production beyond pre-pandemic levels.
  • Devon Energy Corporation currently has over 700 approved, but unused drilling permits. The company made $2.5 billion in profits in 2021. On a recent earnings call, the company boasted over $1.8 billion in dividend payouts and relayed a commitment to “double down on share repurchases.” 
  • Occidental Petroleum currently has over 300 approved, but unused drilling permits. On an earnings call that took place after Putin’s invasion, the company told shareholders that “we do not intend to grow production in 2022.” The company also stated their intentions to prioritize $3 billion in stock buybacks and increase dividends in 2022.  

Chair Grijalva recently authored an opinion piece in The Guardian rebutting the fossil fuel industry’s opportunistic claims that giving oil and gas companies more access to public lands and waters would address the crisis in Ukraine.

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