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08.02.2019

Judicial Committee of the US Senate approved a bill against OPEC

The Judicial Committee of the Senate of the US Congress approved the anti-cartel bill NOPEC (No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act), reports Bloomberg.
NOPEC is a bill in which it is proposed to give the US courts the authority to consider lawsuits against OPEC and other countries involved in cartel collusion under US antitrust laws. If passed, the US will have the right to file charges against foreign governments that will lose sovereign immunity in US courts. After passing through the judicial committee, the document will be put to a vote in the House of Representatives.

International oil companies have warned that such a law would expose US companies and the government to retaliation. Many US oil groups, including Exxon and BP, operate in several OPEC countries, including Nigeria and Iraq.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) opposed the adoption of the bill. According to API, the initiative will have a negative impact on the US diplomatic, military and business interests, while having a very limited impact on the oil market.

“Cartels for any product are harmful to consumer interests, and this attempt to limit the market influence of OPEC member countries is well-intentioned. Nevertheless, the legislation threatens serious, unintended consequences for the US natural gas and oil markets, as well as the country's successful actions to eliminate the negative impact of OPEC on the market, ”the institute said in a statement.

Over the past 20 years, similar proposals have been submitted to Congress several times, but without success. Nevertheless, the last initiative has all chances to become law, given the dissatisfaction of President Donald Trump with the actions of OPEC.

“I’m not going to predict whether the law will be adopted and approved, but I believe that the likelihood of this event is quite good,” said Seth Bloom, the former general counsel of the Senate’s anti-monopoly subcommittee.