A bipartisan group of Senate Judiciary Committee members are reintroducing legislation to improve fairness and stability in the global oil market by allowing the federal government to take action against price fixing by OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC, is led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and cosponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the committee’s chair.
“We’ve seen time and again how OPEC has colluded to set global oil prices, bringing uncertainty and high prices to consumers around the globe. The oil cartel and its member countries need to know that we are committed to stopping their anti-competitive behavior. We must continue working to develop domestic clean, renewable and alternative energy resources in the United States. We also must remain committed to meeting American energy demands while reducing our reliance on foreign oil, especially when it’s artificially and illegally priced. Our bill shows the OPEC members we will not tolerate their flagrant antitrust violations,” Grassley said.
“Competition in international oil markets helps ensure that American families pay fair prices at the pump. But current law has made the Justice Department powerless to stop the 13 largest oil producing countries from manipulating prices and driving up costs. This bipartisan legislation would allow U.S. antitrust laws to be enforced against these oil producers,” Klobuchar said.
“No one is above the law. Yet, OPEC continues to demonstrate its willingness to engage in illegal, anticompetitive, and extortionary means to enrich its members at the expense of consumers. It’s time to change that. I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation, which sends a clear message to the oil cartel that its days of illegally pricing and distributing petroleum products are numbered,” Lee said.
“Big Oil repeatedly puts profits ahead of consumers, like last year’s OPEC+ decision to dramatically cut oil production in alliance with Vladimir Putin amid his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. While we work to create a renewable energy economy at home, it’s important that Congress acts to ensure our energy needs are met without interference by foreign oil cartels. This legislation will help to fight price fixing by OPEC, stop anti-competitive behavior, and lower energy prices for families. We saw great bipartisan progress on this issue last Congress – including a 17-4 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on this legislation – and I look forward to working with my Republican and Democratic colleagues on this important bill,” Durbin said.
NOPEC would explicitly authorize the Justice Department to bring lawsuits against oil cartel members for antitrust violations. It would clarify that neither sovereign immunity nor the “Act of State” doctrine prevents a court from ruling on antitrust charges brought against foreign governments for engaging in illegal pricing, production and distribution of petroleum products.
OPEC is a 15-member organization that controls more than 73 percent of the world’s crude oil reserves.
Full text of the legislation is available HERE.
The bill is backed by SAFE and its Energy Security Leadership Council, a group of former corporate executives and four star military officers dedicated to addressing the strategic challenges presented by OPEC’s global market manipulation.