By Tsvetana Paraskova of OilPrice.com
A group of Democratic Senators led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate if the latest mega acquisitions announced by supermajors ExxonMobil and Chevron are violating antitrust regulations.
“Should the FTC determine that these mergers would violate antitrust law, we urge you to oppose them,” Schumer wrote in a letter to FTC, as carried by Bloomberg.
The letter is the highest-profile call on the U.S. regulators so far to look into whether the deals announced last month would inflict damages to American consumers. The Democrats who signed the letter are concerned that the mega deals could push up gasoline prices.
The FTC is asked to consider “how Exxon’s or Chevron’s vertically integrated operations may harm American competition in any national or regional market,” according to the letter cited by Bloomberg.
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois are among the other Democrats who have signed the letter.
Last month, Exxon announced a deal to buy Pioneer Natural Resources in an all-stock transaction valued at $59.5 billion. The implied total enterprise value of the transaction, including net debt, is around $64.5 billion.
Less than two weeks later, Chevron said it would buy Hess Corporation in an all-stock transaction valued at $53 billion with a total enterprise value, including debt, at $60 billion.
Through the deals, Exxon will become the Permian’s top crude oil producer. Chevron, for its part, will add assets offshore Guyana and in the U.S. Bakken shale play. The Hess deal will give Chevron 465,000 net acres of high-quality, long-duration inventory in the Bakken supported by the integrated assets of Hess Midstream, as well as complementary U.S. Gulf of Mexico assets.
“In the Bakken, Hess holds a strong acreage position with a long queue of economic future drilling locations that will be added to Chevron’s advantaged shale and tight portfolio,” Chevron’s chief executive Mike Wirth said on the call with analysts to discuss the acquisition.