The Guardian
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Proposed United States anti-trust law threatens OPEC’s continued dominance


OPEC Headquarters, Vienna

The dominance of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), particularly in stabilising oil price globally, is coming under serious threat following works on the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) bill by United States lawmakers.

If passed, the piece of legislation, introduced in 2000, would make it illegal for foreign nations to limit oil and gas production as well as fix prices or restrain trade in the products.The House Judiciary Committee had passed the bill last week to allow U.S. Justice Department sue OPEC members for “manipulating” the oil market, thereby removing sovereign immunity and exposing member countries to anti-trust regulation.

Though the campaign had got little or no attention under Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, analysts are, however divided on the proposed law against the backdrop of President Donald Trump’s disapproval for OPEC’s activities.

With the bill being cleared for a vote before the full House of Representatives, Democrats Patrick Leahy and Amy Klobuchar and Republicans Chuck Grassley and Mike Lee have already introduced the NOPEC legislation in the Senate, a report by CNBC noted.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had during the recent Nigerian International Petroleum Summit in Abuja pointed out that the Trump administration was a major barrier to the stability of the oil sector. He had also listed shale oil and fluctuating prices of crude as the other critical challenges.

However, a Professor Emeritus at Louisiana State University, United States who specialises in Petroleum Economics and Policy Research, Wumi Iledare, has downplayed the legislation.

He told The Guardian yesterday that the bill would affect many international agencies and countries.The don insisted that the number one economy in the world lacked jurisdiction over the oil cartel.The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, International Energy Services Limited, Dr. Diran Fawibe, regretted the development, adding that it could eventually incite war and cripple the economies of many nations.

Also yesterday, the Nigerian Navy said it destroyed 1,315 illegal refining sites in 2017 through its Operation River Sweep.Chief of Training and Operations (CTOPS), Real Admiral Markson Kadiri, made the disclosure in Abuja while giving the force’s scorecard for 2018. He added that 637 of such facilities were also brought down last year while 104 speedboats and 340 suspects were arrested.

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