Washington Eyes Crackdown On OPEC

OilPrice – Legislation targeting OPEC is suddenly gaining steam in the U.S. Congress, raising alarm bells for the cartel. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would allow the U.S. Justice Department to sue members of OPEC for manipulating the oil market. The so-called “NOPEC” bill would remove sovereign immunity, exposing member countries to antitrust regulation. The bill has appeared in the past under prior administrations. But previous presidents from both political parties have opposed taking punitive action, fearing damage to the U.S.-Saudi relationship. Times have changed. President Trump has repeatedly posted angry tweets about OPEC, blaming it for high gasoline prices. That led to a revived push for the NOPEC legislation. The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have also been a turning point, erasing a lot of goodwill for Saudi Arabia in Washington. In theory, OPEC members could face confiscation of their assets in the United States. Saudi Aramco, for instance, controls Motiva Enterprises, which owns the largest oil refinery in the country in Port Arthur, Texas. According to the Financial Times, the prospect of the NOPEC bill becoming law has raised alarm bells not just for OPEC, but also for international oil companies who… continue reading

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