(Reuters) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer on Wednesday urged the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to consider possible anti-competitive harms stemming from recent multi-billion dollar acquisitions by oil and gas giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp.
Earlier this month, Exxon proposed to buy Pioneer Natural Resources for $60 billion and Chevron agreed to acquire Hess for $53 billion.
The Democratic Senate leader said in a letter that the two of the largest oil and gas deals of this century are “likely to harm competition.”
The recent oil deals are a financial flex by U.S. oil and gas companies that have kept investing in fossil fuels as European rivals turned their attention to renewable fuels.
Chevron and Exxon have accumulated huge profits from strong energy prices and demand since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“By allowing Exxon and Chevron to further integrate their extensive operations into important oil-and-gas fields, these deals are likely to harm competition, risking increased consumer prices and reduced output throughout the United States,” Schumer said in his letter.
The oil industry last went through an era of major consolidation in the late 1990s when Exxon, Shell, BP and France’s TotalEnergies merged with rivals to create huge integrated companies. The acquisitions followed a collapse in oil prices that weakened many companies.
“If anything, the FTC should be investigating the past anti-competitive mergers of Big Oil conglomerates like Exxon Mobil and Chevron to determine whether these energy giants should be broken up once again,” Schumer added.
Several other Democrats also signed the letter.
(Reporting by Tanay Dhumal and Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru)