Recent Reuters reports state that the Federal Trade Commission has sent subpoenas to Big Oil companies
in its investigation of gasoline price manipulation and oil refining capacity constraints, and hopes to complete the probe next spring.
The agency sent out dozens of subpoenas to companies, including oil giants Exxon Mobil
, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and the U.S. units of BP and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
The FTC probe was ordered by Congress last summer as part of a broad energy bill with $14.5 billion in industry incentives, according to the report. Lawmakers included the provision because of a steady climb in crude oil and gasoline prices throughout 2005.
Less than a month after the bill was signed into law, Hurricane Katrina thundered through the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana, flooding eight major refineries and halting most offshore oil production
. The national average retail price of gasoline surged to a record $3.07 a gallon soon afterward.