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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Oil Companies Dodging Congressional Hearing Are Rolling in Billions While Consumers Suffer

WASHINGTON -

Today, following news that the chief executive officers of three oil companies—EOG Resources, Devon Energy Corporation, and Occidental Petroleum—refused to testify at a Natural Resources Committee hearing scheduled for April 5, government watchdog Accountable.US released the following statement:

“It is hardly surprising that EOG Resources, Devon Energy, and Occidental Petroleum are dodging accountability by refusing to testify in Congress,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “While Americans struggle with high gas prices, these companies are doing victory laps, showering their already wealthy executives and shareholders with billions in stock buybacks and bonus compensation. They should be ashamed.”

EOG Resources, Devon Energy, and Occidental Petroleum lock up nearly 1.5 million acres of public lands in oil and gas leases, while also making billions in profits that they use to repay wealthy executives and shareholders while consumers are left paying the price. Additionally, the companies have a history of deliberately underpaying royalties on public lands and to private mineral rights owners.

BACKGROUND:

EOG, Occidental, and Devon Energy are among the top leaseholders of public lands oil and gas leases with 4,114 leases covering nearly 1.5 million acres:

  • EOG Resources is the 2nd largest public lands leaseholder with 1,667 leases covering 704,048 acres.
  • Occidental Petroleum (OXY) is the 3rd largest public lands leaseholder with 1,602 leases covering 454,331 acres.
  • Devon Energy is the 6th largest public lands leaseholder with 845 authorized leases covering 326,144 acres.

EOG Resources, Occidental Petroleum, and Devon Energy are making record profits and boosting shareholder dividends and stock buybacks thanks to high commodity prices:

  • Occidental Petroleum, EOG Resources and Devon Energy had record cash flow in 2021. In fact, they made nearly $9B in profits that year.
  • Occidental Petroleum and Devon Energy explicitly cited high commodity prices as the reason for their eye-popping shareholder returns.
  • Occidental Planned $3B in stock buybacks on top of a dividend bump for 2022.
  • Devon Energy gave over $1.8B in share buybacks and dividends to shareholders in 2021. The company expects to double its “outsized dividend” in 2022 on top of a $1.6B stock buyback authorization.
  • EOG Resources gave $2.7B to shareholders in 2021, doubling its dividend during the year. The company also OK’d repurchase of $5B in stock after “refreshing” its buyback authorization. It also gave its CEO a $150,000 raise in 2021, allowing him to rake in $9.8M in total compensation.

EOG Resources, Occidental Petroleum, and Devon Energy each have a history of deliberately underpaying royalties on public lands and to private mineral rights owners:

  • EOG Resources has been sued multiple times for failing to pay royalties owed to mineral rights owners.
  • Occidental Petroleum has been forced to pay the federal government tens of millions in False Claims Act penalties for dodging royalty payments.
  • Devon Energy has paid tens of millions for failing to pay royalties, including a 2021 case requiring the company to pay $28M to Texas royalty owners after six years of dodging their financial obligations.

Read the full Accountable.US report for all the details.

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Accountable.US is a nonpartisan watchdog that exposes corruption in public life and holds government officials and corporate special interests accountable by bringing their influence and misconduct to light. In doing so, we make way for policies that advance the interests of all Americans, not just the rich and powerful. 

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