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For Immediate Release
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Peter Hart, phart@fwwatch.org

Fracking Execs Profiting from Ukraine Crisis

New analysis of CEO stock sales and company buybacks amidst soaring energy prices.

WASHINGTON

While consumers are getting hammered by high gas prices and spiraling energy costs linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, top fracking executives have seen their wealth soar. Since the beginning of the year, the value of shares currently held by the CEOs of just eight leading fossil fuel companies has increased by nearly $100 million.

A Food & Water Watch analysis of leading fossil fuel interests --- fracking companies Cheniere, EQT, EOG Resources, pipeline giants Kinder Morgan and Enbridge, and industry powerhouses Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Exxon Mobil - shows that executives have profited from the current crisis, taking advantage of global price increases that have sent company stocks soaring.

The value of Cheniere CEO Jack Fusco's company stock has increased by $25 million from January to March 10 of this year. ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods's stock holdings have increased by $25 million over the same period, while the value of Kinder Morgan CEO Steven Kean's stock has jumped nearly $15 million. Some of these corporate leaders have sold shares to cash in on the crisis; ConocoPhillips head Ryan Lance sold shares for $23 million in mid February, while Chevron CEO Michael Wirth sold $14 million worth of stock in January and February.

The companies are finding other ways to consolidate wealth in response to this crisis. These eight big fracked gas and export companies announced stock buybacks and repurchase authorizations in the last year totaling over $25 billion. That amassed wealth is equivalent to filling up 500,000,000 10 gallon tanks of gas at $5 a gallon or enough to heat the homes of over 33 million people for the winter (assuming a $750 gas bill).

"This data shows that a small handful of fossil fuel CEOs are making enormous and unconscionable profits from this invasion and the ensuing humanitarian crisis," said Food & Water Watch Research Director Amanda Starbuck. "The fracking industry is seeking a long-term strategy to deepen global dependence on dirty fossil fuels. It is nothing short of a cynical exploitation of a genuine crisis. The climate crisis demands a shift away from fossil fuels, and these companies are attempting to drive us in the opposite direction."

The invasion of Ukraine is being used by fossil fuel interests to promote an even greater expansion of liquified natural gas (LNG) exports, theoretically to replace Russian gas in Europe. EQT, the largest US gas company, launched a PR campaign with a plan titled "Unleashing U.S. LNG: The Largest Green Initiative on the Planet."

While the industry and White House officials make a push to increase drilling, this would have no impact on current gas prices. The campaign to promote LNG in response to Ukraine is a cynical calculation by the dominant players in the industry to lock in long-term contracts that would create decades of additional fossil fuel dependence.

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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