Home News Federal Trade Commission approves ExxonMobil’s acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources

Federal Trade Commission approves ExxonMobil’s acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources

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The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday approved ExxonMobil’s acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources Corp. on the condition that Exxon exclude Pioneer’s CEO from its board of directors.

A $60 billion deal between two Texas companies that would create a major oil and gas producer in the Permian Basin, the country’s largest oil field, could be finalized as early as this week. Located in Texas and New Mexico. ExxonMobil’s acquisition of Pioneer is one of several large mergers and acquisitions in the oil and gas industry in recent years.

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield of colluding with OPEC and its allies to control global oil production and prices.

“Mr. Sheffield’s past conduct makes it clear that he should not be anywhere near ExxonMobil’s board of directors,” Kyle Maher, deputy director of the commission’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement. “American consumers should not have to pay unfair prices at the pump just to line the pockets of corporate executives.”

The FTC said Mr. Sheffield “sought to coordinate oil production throughout the Permian Basin with OPEC and its allies” through his public statements, messages to other oil executives and personal meetings with other oil executives. The commission said he exchanged “hundreds of text messages” with representatives and officials of the cartel discussing oil markets, prices and production.

An early explorer of Texas shale deposits, Mr. Sheffield has long been a leader in the U.S. oil industry. He also urged federal lawmakers to end the oil export ban, an effort that was successful during the Obama administration.

ExxonMobil said it had agreed not to add Mr. Sheffield to its board. ExxonMobil said the FTC’s charges against Mr. Sheffield were “completely inconsistent with the way we do business.”

Pioneer Natural Resources disputed the commission’s accusations, saying Mr. Sheffield never sought to collude with other oil producers.

“We disagree and are surprised,” Vanguard said in a statement. “Throughout his career, Mr. Sheffield’s communications were neither intentional nor intended to circumvent the laws and principles that protect competition in the marketplace.”

The company noted that Pioneer more than doubled its U.S. oil production from 2019 to 2023, helping to lower energy prices.

Sheffield declined to comment beyond Pioneer’s statement.

Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Pioneer Petroleum Corp. were up about 1% Thursday morning.

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