Oil and gas prices are headed up again, and Washington politicians are blaming OPEC and its partner, Russia, and eyeing legislation to fight back. Cutting arms sales to Saudi Arabia and passing NOPEC, or the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartel Act.
Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, at a May Judiciary panel vote, advancing the longstanding bill he now wants to attach to the must-pass annual defense bill in November said “With its partner countries Russia, OPEC controls 70 percent of all petroleum traded internationally and 80 percent of all oil reserves. The anti-competitive conduct of OPEC and its partners to manipulate oil prices directly harms American consumers.”
NOPEC would give the U.S. Justice Department a way around the “sovereign immunity” of foreign governments.
Grassley; “The legislation only allows the Department of Justice to bring suit against OPEC and its members. Let me remind my colleagues that President Trump supported NOPEC, as did President Biden when he was in the Senate.”
Versions of NOPEC got out of the House and Senate in 2007 but died amid a veto threat by then-President George W. Bush, and the Biden White House is now non-committal—thus the idea to hitch it to the must-pass defense bill. Foreign Relations Chair Robert Menendez accused the Saudis of choosing, in his words, “war criminal Vladimir Putin over the U.S.,” vowing to use his post to halt any cooperation with Riyadh (REE-yahd) until it reassesses its stance on the war in Ukraine.