WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: The Fossil Fuel Industry Is Lying About Energy Prices

Journalists & Experts Are Calling Out Big Oil’s False Solutions

Following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, oil and gas interests have launched a cynical campaign to capitalize on this global catastrophe and pad their bottom line. Claiming that increasing domestic drilling would lower prices at the pump, the fossil fuel industry has asserted that the Biden administration must lease more federal land and roll back environmental protections. But industry leaders are lying about what their so-called solutions would actually achieve

In reality, these companies already have 9,600 unused, approved leases, and they have made it clear that they have no intention of increasing production in the short term. Corporate polluters in the fossil fuel industry are attempting to cash in on this crisis and lock Americans into dependence on a volatile, dangerous fossil fuel market. Now, energy experts and journalists are exposing Big Oil’s lies and detailing why investing in clean energy is our best option to secure affordable, reliable energy for Americans and weaken Vladimir Putin’s grip on the energy market.

“Big Oil’s cynical attempt to cash in on the invasion of Ukraine isn’t just despicable, it’s also based on lies,” said Evergreen Action Executive Director Jamal Raad. “Domestic oil and gas producers have said it themselves: they’re beholden to Wall Street investors, not the American people, and they have no interest in increasing production while sky-high prices are helping them rake in record profits. The only real long-term solution to protect Americans from price manipulation by fossil-fueled fascists is to accelerate the clean energy transition and free ourselves from the volatile oil and gas market for good.”

Here’s what experts are saying about the fossil fuel industry’s effort to capitalize on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:


Limiting Our Dependence On Fossil Fuels Will Weaken The Putin Regime

The Guardian | Oliver Milman | 3.9.22

“For Svitlana Krakovska, Ukraine’s leading climate scientist, it was meant to be the week where eight years of work culminated in a landmark UN report exposing the havoc the climate crisis is causing the world. [...] ‘I started to think about the parallels between climate change and this war and it’s clear that the roots of both these threats to humanity are found in fossil fuels,’ said Krakovska. ‘Burning oil, gas and coal is causing warming and impacts we need to adapt to. And Russia sells these resources and uses the money to buy weapons. Other countries are dependent upon these fossil fuels, they don’t make themselves free of them. This is a fossil fuel war. It’s clear we cannot continue to live this way, it will destroy our civilization.’” 


LA Times | The Times Editorial Board | 3.9.22

“Some of these steps [toward clean energy] may not roll out fast enough to make an immediate and decisive difference in the Ukraine crisis. But over time, they will weaken Putin and other authoritarian rulers who derive their power from fossil fuels, increasing our ability to isolate them economically during future conflicts, while also accelerating the global fight against climate change.”


Increasing Domestic Drilling Will Not Shield American Families From The Volatile Global Oil And Gas Market

CNN | Ella Nilsen | 3.9.22

“The idea that the US can be fully energy independent -- and that it would combat rising gas prices -- is a fantasy, numerous experts told CNN. ‘What Americans and US officials really care about is the price of gasoline, and that has almost nothing to do about whether we're energy independent or not,’ said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group. ‘Can the US wall itself off from volatility in the global oil market? The answer is no.’ [...]

There's also the fact that the US consumes a different kind of oil than it produces. McNally likened the kind of light crude the US produces to champagne, and the heavy crude it imports to coffee. Importantly, US oil refineries are built to refine this ‘heavy and gunky’ imported crude -- akin to separating out coffee grounds, McNally said.”


New York Times | Clifford Krauss | 2.25.22

“‘There is no true energy independence,’ said David L. Goldwyn, who was the leading State Department energy diplomat in the first Obama administration. ‘With globally priced commodities like oil and gas and now critical minerals there is no protection from price disruption even if you have adequate physical supply.’”


US Oil And Gas Companies, Beholden To Their Shareholders, Will Not Meaningfully Increase Production

Bloomberg | Kevin Crowley, Guy Johnson, and Kailey Leinz | 2.17.22

Only OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have the ability to meaningfully increase production fast in the wake of supply shortages, Pioneer Chief Executive Officer Scott Sheffield said on Bloomberg TV. U.S. shale, the world’s oil growth engine for the past decade, is constrained by labor shortages and demands by shareholders to return cash, he said.”


CNN | Chris Isidore | 3.2.22

When asked about production targets for 2022 during a January earnings call, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods responded, ‘The primary objectives we've had in looking at the portfolio is less about volume and volume targets and more about the quality and profitability of the barrels that we're producing.’”


Financial Times | Derek Brower and Justin Jacobs | 3.8.22

“‘If there’s anyone standing in the way, according to them, it’s their financial backers, who are insisting on dividends and fiscal discipline in the face of a war in Europe, and the highest prices we have seen in a couple generations [...].’ Hochstein added, ‘And that’s not a US government problem. If there’s a bottleneck it is on Wall Street. They should call their financiers and tell them there’s a war going on. The American public is paying the price.’”


E&E | Benjamin Storrow | 3.7.22

“American oil companies are emerging from a series of lean years. The profligate spending of the early shale boom chastened Wall Street — with lenders prioritizing capital discipline over expansive new drilling programs. Economic shutdowns associated with the Covid-19 pandemic prompted many companies to slash their capital budgets in 2020. And efforts to stand up rigs again have been hampered by a tight labor market and a supply chain crunch.”


Oil And Gas Companies Are Making Disingenuous Demands Of The Biden Administration

New York Times | Linda Qiu | 3.9.22

“These factors are largely out of Mr. Biden’s control, experts agreed, though they said he had not exactly sent positive signals to the oil and gas industry and its investors by vowing to reduce emissions and fossil fuel reliance. [...] But overall, he said, that stance has played a ‘very, very small role pushing gas prices up.’”


The White House | Jen Psaki | 3.3.22

“‘Well, there are 9,000 approved oil leases that the oil companies are not tapping into currently.’”