Why You Should Pay Attention to the “NOPEC” Bill Moving Through Congress

Why You Should Pay Attention to the “NOPEC” Bill Moving Through Congress

Less than two weeks after OPEC+ slashed oil production by two million barrels per day, the price of oil is above $90 per barrel, and U.S. gas prices have already gone up by about a dime per gallon.

The cartel’s move caught the Biden administration flat-footed, and now, President Biden is considering something he has long resisted and that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has long sought: NOPEC.

The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act has been introduced in various forms 16 times since 2000. It would strip state immunity from OPEC nations and allow them to be sued in U.S. courts under antitrust law for collusion and price-fixing.

Proponents of the NOPEC provision say state-owned enterprises like OPEC nations’ oil companies engage in anticompetitive behavior, putting domestic oil producers at a disadvantage and the U.S. at the mercy of the cartel’s whims.

But others worry the NOPEC provision could actually be counterproductive. Javier Blas of Bloomberg argues that NOPEC is a “nuclear option” that could lead Saudi Arabia to “dump US financial assets, redirect oil sales and openly talk about pricing oil in other currencies.”

Wherever one stands, we cannot lose sight of the importance of U.S. energy independence. To get there, Congress must move on energy permitting reform.