Monday, May 27, 2024
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American Oil Magnate Charged with Attempting to Work With OPEC to Manipulate Prices

Federal regulators claimed on Thursday that Scott Sheffield, the founder and longtime CEO of a major American oil producer, tried to conspire with OPEC and its allies to inflate prices.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Sheffield, who was Pioneer Natural Resources’ CEO at the time, communicated with representatives of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, an oil cartel headed by Saudi Arabia, via hundreds of text messages about pricing, production, and the dynamics of the oil market.

Authorities allege that Sheffield attempted to “align oil production” in the Texas Permian Basin with that of OPEC and OPEC+. This larger organization includes Russia, through public remarks, in-person meetings, and WhatsApp exchanges.

The FTC complaint claimed that Mr. Sheffield’s communications were intended to benefit oil companies in OPEC and OPEC+ member states, as well as Pioneer, at the expense of US consumers and businesses. In contrast to OPEC member countries, US oil production is expected to be determined by the free market rather than by major players working together.

Sheffield’s tenure as Pioneer’s CEO ended in December 2023. His company is the largest producer in the Permian Basin. This abundant oil field has contributed to the United States of America being the world’s leading producer of gas and oil.

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