November 23, 2021

Warren Turns Up the Heat On Big Energy Companies’ Greed As They Jack Up Natural Gas Prices, Exporting Record Amounts To Boost Profits While Americans Foot the Bill

Natural Gas Exports Are Causing Massive Price Increases for U.S. Consumers While Enriching Company Executives and Investors

Warren: “This corporate greed is inexcusable, and represents the results of a rigged system that enriches energy company executives and investors, and leaves American families struggling to pay the bills.”

Text of Letters (PDF)

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is turning up the heat on big energy companies who are gaming the system by raising natural gas prices for consumers to boost profits and line the pockets of executives and investors. Recent reporting from the Wall Street Journal revealed that energy companies are exporting more natural gas than ever while limiting domestic supply, ensuring that consumers feel the burn of high energy prices this winter. In her letters to the nation’s largest natural gas producers, Senator Warren blasted this corporate greed and asked for an explanation for their decisions to export record amounts of natural gas while imposing massive price increases on American families and small businesses. 

“I am writing regarding my concern about rising natural gas prices for American consumers, the impact this will have for families struggling to pay their bills and keep their homes warm this winter, and the extent to which these price increases are being driven by energy companies’ corporate greed and profiteering as they ‘moved record amounts of U.S. gas out of the country,’” wrote Senator Warren.  

Senator Warren continued: “The cause of rapidly rising energy prices for consumers and manufacturers is clear: some of the nation’s largest and most profitable oil and gas companies are putting their massive profits, share prices and dividends for investors, and millions of dollars in CEO pay and bonuses ahead of the needs of American consumers and the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, exporters are sending record amounts of natural gas out of the country, causing domestic energy prices to soar and forcing consumers to pay for huge winter heating bills. Meanwhile, energy companies, their executives, and their shareholders are thriving  and spending billions on buybacks and dividends as the energy sector becomes the “best performer in the stock market this year.” 

For example, ConocoPhillips reported a more than 100% increase in the realized price of natural gas compared to 2020. ExxonMobil reported that rising prices could lift third-quarter profits by up to $1.5 billion and BP’s trading team made more than $500M during the third quarter of 2021 due to gas crises. 

Senator Warren is calling on ConocoPhillips, EQT, Exxon Mobil, Coterra, BP, Antero Resources, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Ascent Resources, Southwestern Energy Company, Range Resources Corporation, and Occidental Petroleum Corporation to answer her questions about their rationale for decisions to export record amounts of natural gas while imposing massive price increases on Americans families and small businesses by no later than December 3, 2021.

To protect consumers and the economy, Senator Warren has been calling for investigations into giant corporations engaging in anticompetitive practices and driving up their prices while reaping major profits. She recently sent a letter requesting the Department of Justice investigate mergers and anticompetitive behavior, including price fixing, among the country’s four largest poultry companies as costs for chicken and turkey are spiking.