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Chevron oil sign at oil and gas conference

With a Chevron sign hovering in the background, people speak together at an exhibition during the 23rd World Petroleum Congress conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center on December 07, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

WATCH LIVE: Big Oil Execs to Face Charges of Price-Gouging at House Hearing

"These executives are exploiting the pandemic and war in Ukraine to pad their bottom lines."

Jon Queally

Top executives from some of the largest and most profitable oil and gas companies are expected to face tough questions Wednesday as they testify before a House subcommittee about price-gouging U.S. consumers even as their companies haul in record-setting profits.

"They should be ashamed."

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), will begin the hearing at 10:30 am EST as part of an effort to discover any dirty dealings by the energy companies that have been widely accused of exploiting the war in Ukraine and false inflation narratives to jack up energy prices, especially at the gasoline pump.

"Though crude oil prices have fallen from their highs in early March, the price Americans pay at the pump remains elevated," notes a memo put out by the office of Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, ahead of the hearing.

"Persistently high gasoline prices are a financial challenge for many Americans and disproportionately impact lower-earning Americans, who are more likely to spend a greater share of their annual income on gasoline," the memo continues. "Oil companies, on the other hand, are making significant profits, with the six companies testifying at this hearing collectively generating more than $76 billion in profit in 2021."

Watch Live:

The executives testifying at the hearing include David Lawler, chairman and president of BP America; Michael K. Wirth, chairman and CEO of Chevron;  Richard E. Muncrief, president and CEO of Devon Energy; Darren W. Woods, CEO of ExxonMobil; Scott D. Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources; and Gretchen Watkins, president Shell USA.

Corporate watchdogs and climate advocacy groups have railed against the oil companies over recent months for attempting to mislead the American public about the reasons for soaring gas prices.

According to briefing documents put out by Greenpeace USA ahead of the testimony, the companies testifying Wednesday are projected to see windfall profits between $28 to $57 billion in 2022 alone.

Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, said in a Wednesday morning statement ahead of the hearing that oil companies are inexcusably ripping off U.S. consumers at a time of booming profits.

"The oil giants testifying at today's hearing raked in an eye-popping $71.2 billion in profits last year, but rather than use that money to lower gas prices for American consumers struggling to fill their tanks, they showered wealthy executives and shareholders with billions in dividends and stock buybacks. They should be ashamed,” Herrig said.

"These executives are exploiting the pandemic and war in Ukraine to pad their bottom lines," he continued. "They are gouging consumers at the pump and rigging the system to avoid paying their fair share in drilling royalties on public lands, shortchanging taxpayers, public schools, and critical infrastructure like roads and hospitals."

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