WASHINGTON – Amid rising oil prices fueled by foreign production cuts, a bipartisan group of Senate Judiciary Committee members today reintroduced legislation that will let the federal government 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 the committee’s ranking member, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and cosponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
“It’s long past time to put an end to illegal price fixing by OPEC. The oil cartel and its member countries need to know that we are committed to stopping their anti-competitive behavior. We, in the United States, have been working for years to develop our domestic clean, renewable and alternative energy resources. We’re also committed to 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.
“Current law has made the Justice Department powerless to stop OPEC and its members from coordinating oil production to manipulate prices, driving up costs for millions of Americans. Open competition in international oil markets is critical to ensuring that American families pay fair prices at the pump. Our bipartisan legislation would allow U.S. antitrust laws to be enforced against OPEC producers, helping to ensure that U.S. gas prices are fair and affordable,” Klobuchar said.
“The United States has long prohibited price-fixing and market allocation conspiracies through our antitrust laws, and there is no reason that OPEC – which openly and notoriously functions as an international oil cartel – should be exempt. Our bill would loosen OPEC’s unfair control over our economy, and help make gas more affordable for consumers in America and across the world,” Lee said. 
“As Vermonters and all Americans suffer through the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, they shouldn’t be subject to artificially inflated oil prices that impact virtually every aspect of their lives.  Oil-producing countries shouldn’t get a free pass to engage in anti-competitive conduct that directly harms millions of Americans.  I’m proud to again cosponsor our longstanding, bipartisan legislation to curb precisely that type of conduct.  I’m hopeful that Congress will finally enact these much-needed reforms into law,” Leahy 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.