A sign at a Mobil station shows high gas prices on October 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

A sign at a Mobil station shows high gas prices on October 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

FTC Probing 'Blockbuster' Exxon-Pioneer Merger

"The FTC is right to investigate Exxon's acquisition of Pioneer, which could raise prices at the pump and is aimed at keeping the U.S. reliant on fossil fuels," said one campaigner.

Amid outrage from climate campaigners and senators, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating fossil fuel giant ExxonMobil's proposed takeover of Pioneer Natural Resources, a regulatory filing revealed Tuesday.

Pioneer disclosed the FTC's request for more information about the pending merger, which Exxon announced in October.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Tuesday: "Last month, I and 22 other senators urged the FTC to investigate Exxon's $60 billion proposed blockbuster merger with Pioneer. And today—they heeded my warning."

"Americans care a great deal about gas prices," Schumer stressed, "and if this merger were to go through it would most certainly raise gas prices for families across the country."

"This merger has all the hallmarks of harmful, anticompetitive effects. The FTC is right to investigate this merger to see if it would lead to higher gas prices or less competition," he added. "I look forward to following this investigation closely, and will encourage the FTC to block the deal if they find any antitrust laws are being violated."

Alex Witt of Climate Power, an advocacy group founded by the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund, League of Conservation Voters, and Sierra Club, also welcomed the FTC's inquiry in comments to The Associated Press.

"Exxon publicly promised to reduce emissions, yet subsequently spent $60 billion acquiring another fossil fuel company—doubling down on their commitment to oil and gas and putting profits over people," Witt said. "The FTC is right to investigate Exxon's acquisition of Pioneer, which could raise prices at the pump and is aimed at keeping the U.S. reliant on fossil fuels."

A CAP report highlighted Tuesday that in hopes of continuing to profit off of the destruction of the planet, the fossil fuel industry is "undermining democratic functions to stem the tide of climate action" around the world.

That report and the heightened scrutiny of the possible merger come during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), where attendees are considering scientists' warnings that fossil fuels must be rapidly phased out to prevent more devastating global heating.

"This deal shows that Exxon is doubling down on fossil fuels and has no intention of moving towards clean energy," Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media argued earlier this year. "Even after the hottest summer on record, Exxon is hellbent on driving the thermostat even higher."

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