Washington, D.C.—In response to OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo’s appearance at the CERAWeek conference in Houston, at which he has tried to undermine the passage of the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC), Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement:
“Since the U.S. is the home of the free market, as Secretary Barkindo says, he must know the core characteristic of free markets and fair competition is that participants do not conspire to restrict trade. All we want is the standard set by the Sherman Act to be applied to all market participants instead of allowing a select few, who happen to dominate the most strategically-important commodity in the world, to hide behind sovereign immunity or other legal safe harbors,” Diamond said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Secretary Barkindo told reporters that NOPEC “would not serve the interests of the United States.” If passed, NOPEC would amend the Sherman Act—passed in 1890 to prohibit such anticompetitive behavior—to allow the executive branch to prevent OPEC from using a sovereign immunity defense and the Act of State doctrine to evade U.S. antitrust law. The threat of NOPEC legislation has already altered OPEC behavior: On the advice of lawyers White & Case, OPEC members no longer mention oil prices when discussing policy, referring to market stability instead.
“Enough is enough: The United States needs to take its energy future into its own hands, instead of being charmed by a cartel that maximizes its own self-interest and operates against the free-market principles the U.S. has long held dear. We welcome the cartel exposing its true self in Houston and Washington, so our political leaders and policy makers can see OPEC for what it is,” 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. 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), the legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support. The House bill passed in committee on February 7, the same day NOPEC 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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