The Opec+ decision to slash production has once again raised many eyebrows even as a miffed US administration looks for ways to counter high fuel prices. Amidst the serious differences between the US and Opec+, a case is being built for NOPEC, which is a U.S. bill to pressure the OPEC+ oil group. Let’s find out what is NOPEC…
It is a US legislation that could open members of Opec+ to antitrust lawsuits. The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC), was initially sponsored and introduced by Senator Herb Kohl in June 2000.
Nopec has bipartisan support in the USA that eyes protecting US consumers and businesses from spiraling oil prices.
According to the provisions of the US federal law, foreign governments cannot be sued for predatory pricing or failing to comply with federal antitrust laws. This bill will seek to address this provision by revoking the sovereign immunity that has protected Opec+ members.
If passed into law, oil cartel or its members, such as Saudi Arabia can be sued in federal court. But it is still obscure the ways through which this law if passed will be applicable to foreign nations.
This has caused a lot of discomfiture for Opec’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia in the last two decades which has to lobby hard whenever a new version of the Act has come up.
The NOPEC bill was passed by the U.S. Senate Committee in May which led to serious criticism by Opec members UAE and Saudi Arabia. For it to become a law it needs to be passed by the full Senate and House and be signed by the President.
UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei had said at that time “OPEC was being unfairly targeted over the energy crisis, and moves by U.S. lawmakers to disrupt its established system of production could see oil prices shoot up by as much as 300%.”