Washington, D.C.–As the OPEC cartel, in coordination with its OPEC+ allies like Russia, prepare to extend their production cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement:
“Once again, a cartel sharing neither U.S. strategic priorities nor values colludes on oil production levels that affect market prices and consumers worldwide. And now Iran rejoins the party, supporting oil production cuts. If a group of companies manipulated the price of any other product by cutting supply to drive up costs, it would be considered a violation of U.S. antitrust law under the Sherman Act, which promotes free, fair and healthy competition. If we do not apply that same standard to oil—the world’s most important commodity—American energy security will continue to be undermined by an unaccountable cartel no matter how much oil the United States produces.”
If enacted, the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC) would amend the Sherman Act by ensuring OPEC and its members can no longer use a sovereign immunity defense or the Act of State doctrine to evade antitrust litigation, and would empower the executive branch to launch such suits if it sees fit. Before becoming President, Donald Trump called for NOPEC’s enactment in his 2011 book “Time to Get Tough.”
Between 1970 and 2015 alone, $3.4 trillion was transferred from the United States to foreign oil producers simply to account for oil price inflation by OPEC. In addition, the U.S. military spends $81 billion every year to secure the global oil supply, ensuring uninterrupted supply of the cartel’s oil to market. Ahead of this week’s OPEC meeting, Iran’s oil minister endorsed longer-term cooperation among OPEC and its petrostate allies, saying “Iran supports co-operation with non-OPEC states,” adding elsewhere that he has “no problem with a production cut.”
“Enough is enough. The United States cannot continue to allow a cartel run by Saudi Arabia and including Iran, alongside its petrostate allies like Russia, to operate in flagrant violation of established antitrust norms. We must protect our economic and national security future and pass NOPEC to ensure we are no longer hostage to a group that maximizes its own self-interest at our expense and operates counter to the free-market principles our country has long held dear,” Diamond added.
The United States is the world’s largest oil consumer, accounting for one-fifth of daily global supply; 70 percent of which is used to fuel our transport network, which is 92 percent dependent on petroleum. Despite rising U.S. oil production, OPEC still dominates the global oil market, holding almost 82 percent of global reserves in 2017. Due to the uniquely global nature of oil pricing—where a supply disruption anywhere affects prices everywhere—the United States will always be impacted by OPEC’s actions, regardless of how much oil we produce at home.
Introduced in the Senate by Sens. Grassley (R-IA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Lee (R-UT) and Leahy (D-VT), and in the House by Reps. Chabot (R-OH), Nadler (D-NY), Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Cicilline (D-RI) and Collins (R-GA), NOPEC has enjoyed bipartisan support. The House bill passed in committee on February 7, the same day the legislation was introduced in the Senate.
About Securing America’s Future Energy
Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
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