“I am writing regarding my concern about rising natural gas prices for American consumers, the impact this will have for families struggling to pay their bills and keep their homes warm this winter,” Warren wrote in the letters dated Nov. 23.
The letters were addressed to the chief executive officers from 11 natural gas producers, including ConocoPhillips, EQT, Exxon Mobil, Coterra, BP, Antero Resources, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Ascent Resources, Southwestern Energy Company, Range Resources Corporation, and Occidental Petroleum Corporation.
Warren suggested that the increase of utility prices “are being driven by energy companies’ corporate greed and profiteering” as they “moved record amounts of U.S. gas out of the country” to Canada, Mexico, and European and Asian countries, citing a Wall Street Journal article from Nov. 7.
She called for these corporations to answer her questions about their rationale to export record amounts of natural gas ahead of the winter months, assigning them a deadline of Dec. 7, 2021.
In addition to Warren, the Democratic senators include Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Margaret Hassan (D-N.H.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
“As the United States work[s] to boost the development of clean and renewable energy over the long-term, we must ensure that Americans are able to afford to fill up their cars at the pump in the meantime,” the senators wrote.
The energy shortage in Europe and Asia has boosted demand for American liquefied natural gas, leading to rising energy prices. Bloomberg reported that the shale sector’s spending restraint on gas production and the roadblocks limiting the construction of more pipelines have also raised concerns about power outages in some parts of the country.
The U.S. benchmark price of heating fuel has almost doubled this year, while energy prices in Europe have also surged to record heights.
The White House is pulling out various stops in an effort to get gas prices under control at the start of what is expected to be a busy holiday travel season.
The administration is tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and President Biden has called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether oil companies are responsible for increased prices.
Nevertheless, the focus on gas prices has provided fuel for Republican attacks on Biden’s handling of the economy, and his energy policies in particular, at a time when the White House is hoping to rally support for ambitious climate goals in its roughly $2 trillion spending plan.