US oil trade group opposes bill allowing lawsuits against OPEC

Source: By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters • Posted: Monday, May 2, 2022

A 3D printed oil pump jack is seen in front of displayed Opec logo in this illustration picture

NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) – A top U.S. oil and natural gas trade group has come out against the passage of a bill that would open the OPEC oil production group and countries working with it to lawsuits for collusion on boosting petroleum prices.

The legislation could create unintended negative consequences for the U.S. oil and natural gas industry, while likely having limited impact on the market concerns that drive the bill, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said in a letter seen by Reuters on Monday and addressed to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The letter comes as the committee is expected to consider the bill as soon as this week. read more

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 the Biden administration has struggled to contain a volatile energy market that has seen oil prices temporarily reach a 14-year high. U.S. gasoline prices at the pump are at over $4 per gallon ahead of November’s mid-term elections.

In its letter, API said that the U.S. oil industry, which has more than doubled U.S. crude output in the last decade, has mitigated the influence of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on the oil market.

“Legislative efforts that strengthen American energy production would be the best approach to ensure market stability and protect America’s energy security,” API said in the letter, dated Friday.

The NOPEC bill gives the U.S. Attorney General the option to sue oil-producing countries, such as those in OPEC, under anti-trust laws. A similar version passed the U.S. House Judiciary Committee last year.

Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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