ExxonMobil fired back at President Biden after he threatened them with "emergency powers" if they don’t boost supply to temper surging gas prices.
In a statement released Wednesday from the company, ExxonMobil said it has been in regular contact with the administration providing updates on how it has been investing "more than any other company to develop U.S. oil and gas supplies."
ExxonMobil said had invested $118 billion on new oil and gas supplies over the past five years, compared to a net income of $55 billion – resulting in an almost 50% increase in its U.S. production of oil during that period.
ExxonMobil said it has been investing through the economic downturn to increase refining capacity to process U.S. light crude by some 250,000 barrels per day, which equates to a new medium-sized refinery.
"We kept investing even during the pandemic, when we lost more than $20 billion and had to borrow more than $30 billion to maintain investment to increase capacity to be ready for post-pandemic demand," the company said.
The statement ended imploring the Biden administration to – rather threaten emergency powers – "promote investment through clear and consistent policy that supports U.S. resource development."
Biden has been facing a flood of criticism lately for a lack of executive action aimed at curbing inflation. On higher gas prices, the president has pivoted between blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine and oil company’s profit motives.
"There is no question that Vladimir Putin is principally responsible for the intense financial pain the American people and their families are bearing," Biden wrote in a series of letters to oil CEOs on Wednesday. "But amid a war that has raised gasoline prices more than $1.70 per gallon, historically high refinery profit margins are worsening that pain."
"Your companies and others have an opportunity to take immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel and other refined product you are producing," he continued. "My administration is prepared to use all reasonable and appropriate Federal Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term, and to ensure that every region of this country is appropriately supplied."
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Thursday why the Biden administration was calling on oil companies to increase productivity at refineries instead of calling for more drilling.
Jean-Pierre argued that oil companies cut refinery capacity at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic and have yet to increase that capacity back to pre-pandemic levels.
When pressed as to why the president didn’t "just drill more here in the U.S.," Jean-Pieerre responded: "Because we don't need to do that."
"What we need [oil companies] to do is, with the oil that's out there, we need them to refine that oil so that the capacity can go up and that prices would go down," she said.