Republicans have attacked President Joe Biden for blaming Russia for the high costs of oil and gas. The United States very rarely uses Russian oil and gas. But oil and gas are global commodities in a global market. So, when Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm explained that the war was to blame for high prices, she walked through how the U.S. is now competing with other countries in buying oil and gas.
As Bloomberg News reported, Granholm was spot on with where oil and gas are going — and it isn't staying at home. Nearly 75 percent of natural gas produced in the United States is being sold to Europe. Many countries in Europe have higher prices for gas than the U.S., particularly in countries like Norway and Denmark.
"Residents of Hong Kong pay the highest international gas prices, with one gallon setting them back $10.97," wrote US News and World Report last month. "Norway has the second-highest gas prices at $9.64 per gallon, followed by Denmark where gas costs an average $9.32 per gallon."
New shipments of liquid natural gas sent to the EU tripled in 2021. It means that the United States is producing nearly half of all European natural gas.
Meanwhile, US companies are struggling to come back online after huge layoffs in 2020. When people weren't traveling, oil and gas companies had to cut prices and lay off staff. Now that there's a demand for more oil and gas the companies must figure out a way to bring back staff and increase production. The major problem with that, however, is that they blew their profits on buying back their own stocks.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee penned a letter in April calling on oil and gas to stop buying stocks and instead hire employees to get production back up. They explained in the letter that Exxon and Chevron both pledged up to $10 billion in stock buybacks in 2022. BP announced it would do $4.15 billion in buybacks, while Shell announced plans for $8.5 billion in buybacks.
They noted in their letter that the dependence on these companies for energy shows how important it is for Americans to move off of fossil fuel dependence because these corporations will always choose to "enrich investors and executives—at the expense of American consumers paying higher prices."