The dominance of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), especially in stabilizing oil prices globally, is under serious threat following work on the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Bill ( NOPEC) by US lawmakers.
If passed, the bill, introduced in 2000, would make it illegal for foreign countries to limit oil and gas production as well as to fix prices or restrict trade in products. The Justice Department is suing OPEC members for “manipulating” the oil market, removing sovereign immunity and exposing member countries to antitrust regulation.
Although the campaign received little to no attention under Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, analysts are still divided over the proposed law amid President Donald Trump’s disapproval of OPEC activities.
With the bill approved for a vote in the entire House of Representatives, Democrats Patrick Leahy and Amy Klobuchar and Republicans Chuck Grassley and Mike Lee have already introduced NOPEC legislation to the Senate, according to a CNBC report.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, stressed at the recent Nigerian International Petroleum Summit in Abuja that the Trump administration was a major obstacle to the stability of the oil sector. He had also listed shale oil and fluctuating crude prices as other critical challenges.
However, an emeritus professor at Louisiana State University in the United States specializing in petroleum economics and political research, Wumi Iledare, downplayed the importance of the legislation.
He told the Guardian yesterday that the bill would affect many international agencies and countries. The donation insisted that the world’s number one economy did not have jurisdiction over the oil cartel. International Energy Services Limited Chairman and CEO Dr Diran Fawibe lamented the development, adding that it could eventually spur war and cripple the economies of many nations.
Also yesterday, the Nigerian Navy said it destroyed 1,315 illegal refining sites in 2017 as part of its Operation River Sweep. that 637 of these facilities were also destroyed last year while 104 speedboats and 340 suspects were arrested.