Chairs Maloney and Khanna Call on Big Oil to End Stock Buybacks, Use Record Profits to Help Americans at the Pump and Invest in Clean Energy

Apr 4, 2022
Press Release
Committee Analysis Shows Big Oil Spends Far More Enriching Investors and Executives Than Producing Clean Energy

Washington, D.C. (April 4, 2022)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Ro Khanna, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, sent a letter to fossil fuel executives at ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron, and Shell Oil Company, urging them to use their record-breaking profits to help Americans facing pain at the gas pump instead of enriching investors with stock buybacks and dividends.  The Chairs also urged Big Oil to utilize their windfall profit to finally invest in renewable energy projects to reduce the fossil fuel dependency that has empowered dangerous autocrats like Vladimir Putin.

 

“As Vladimir Putin’s illegal war against Ukraine is raising gas prices and hurting Americans at the pump, fossil fuel companies are taking advantage of the crisis by raking in record profits and spending billions of dollars to enrich their executives and investors,” the Chairs wrote.  “As part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation into Big Oil’s disinformation on fossil fuels and climate change, we found that as profits rose last year, Exxon, Chevron, BP, and Shell spent more than $44 billion to enrich investors with stock buybacks and dividends.  This year, you have promised to funnel at least $32 billion more to your investors, while committing less than half that amount to urgently needed lower-carbon investments. Big Oil must immediately stop profiteering off the crisis in Ukraine.”

 

The events in Ukraine over the past several weeks demonstrate the dangers of America’s fossil fuel dependence.  During the first three months of 2022—as Putin prepared for and launched his illegal invasion of Ukraine—average gas prices increased by 29%, from $3.28 to $4.23 per gallon.  As the crisis in Ukraine drives oil and gas prices to record highs, ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron, and Shell Oil Company are poised to reap even more windfall profit from fossil fuel. 

 

Big Oil’s profits have been used to enrich investors and executives—at the expense of American consumers paying higher prices.  Exxon and Chevron both pledged up to $10 billion in stock buybacks in 2022.  BP has announced $4.15 billion in buybacks, and Shell has announced plans for $8.5 billion worth of buybacks in the first half of 2022 alone.

 

The Committee’s analysis found that despite lofty public pledges to invest in cleaner fuels, fossil fuel companies’ investments in clean or renewable energy make up only a fraction of their annual capital expenditures.  For each company, planned 2022 stock buybacks substantially outpace pledged investments in low-emission energy sources. 


Since September 2021, Chairwoman Maloney and Chairman Khanna have been investigating the fossil fuel industry’s long history of climate disinformation.

 

On October 28, 2021, the Committee held a historic hearing in which top fossil fuel and industry executives testified together under oath for the first time about their companies’ roles in causing the climate crisis and their efforts to cover it up.  During this hearing, the Committee released a memo showing how the fossil fuel industry’s public praise for climate policies is not backed by meaningful action.

 

On February 8, 2022, the Committee held a second hearing where experts testified that Big Oil’s investments in renewable energy are woefully insufficient to address our fossil fuel dependence and the deepening climate crisis.

 

Click here to read today’s letter.

 

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117th Congress