The Strategist

US shale oil producers accused of conspiring to inflate prices

05/14/2024 - 10:34

US corporations that produce oil from shale oil resources are being sued in multiple class action lawsuits alleging that they conspired to restrict production and drive up fuel prices, writes the Financial Times.

Vlasta Juricek
Vlasta Juricek
The defendants include, among others, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, and Diamondback Energy with at least ten cases, according to the FT.

The most recent of these class action cases was submitted to the New Mexico District Court on behalf of drivers in multiple states. Among other things, it claims that the corporations disregarded "their historical practices and rational interests" and did not increase production when oil prices surged at the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict.

Early in May, news broke that Scott Sheffield, the former president of Pioneer Natural Resources Co., had been charged by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with trying to collude with OPEC on prices. In particular, he made a public appeal for Russia and OPEC to restrict output in the face of a sharp decline in oil prices in 2020 when the coronavirus epidemic broke out.

Pioneer, which Exxon paid $59.5 billion to acquire, refuted the accusations, claiming they "misinterpret the nature and intent of Mr. Sheffield's actions" and "reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the US and global oil markets."