File - Drivers refuel at a Chevron gas station, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023, in South Miami, Fla. A big explanation for the recent decline in gas prices is seasonality — with prices at the pump almost always easing at this time of year. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Chevron's acquisition of Hess oil company, the second inquiry the independent agency has opened this week of a major oil industry merger.
Chevron and Hess said in separate filings that the FTC is seeking additional information and documentary materials related to Chevron's proposed $53 billion purchase of Hess, announced in October.
The statements Friday follow an announcement earlier this week that the FTC is reviewing ExxonMobil's proposed $60 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources. Such requests for information are steps the agency takes when reviewing whether a merger could be anticompetitive under U.S. law. If completed, the Exxon and Chevron deals would be among the largest mergers in the energy industry in two decades.
The inquiries come after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and 22 other Democratic senators urged the FTC to investigate the two deals. Schumer said Friday the Chevron-Hess merger would lead to "higher prices at the pump for families even while Big Oil profits keep going up and up.''
The FTC, which shares antitrust authority with the Justice Department, can sue in court to block a merger or decline to take action, effectively clearing the deal.
A spokesperson for the commission declined to comment Friday.
Chevron, Exxon and other oil companies have announced huge profits from strong energy prices and demand since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Exxon reported $9.1 billion in profits in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, while Chevron reported $6.5 billion in profits.
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