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Senate committee advances anti-OPEC bill as Democrats face ‘increasing threat of inflation’

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 17-4 on a bipartisan bill that would expose the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to antitrust lawsuits, sparking talks about whether such legislation has a chance this year.

There are reasons why the No Oil Exploration and Export Antitrust Act is more likely than ever to become a reality, according to Benjamin Salisbury, research director at Height Capital Markets.

“Democratic policymakers are increasingly threatened by inflation, especially in fuel prices, and have few resources to fight it. OPEC+ in general and Saudi Arabia in particular have taken a cautious stance on President Biden’s calls to increase production. Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s alignment with OPEC+, including Russia, during the Ukraine war is exacerbating the divide between Biden and MBS and making opposition to the law more politically dangerous for policymakers,” Salisbury said in a statement on Friday, citing Saudi -Arabia’s KSA.
+0.10%
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Related: Biden opens up about his efforts to tame high prices as analysts see him face a ‘tough’ midterm election if inflation doesn’t ease

And see: What can Biden and Congress do to fight inflation? “Just not much”

On the other hand, the Height analyst said there are also reasons to believe that the NOPEC law is “less likely than ever to succeed,” including that “there is what we believe is questionable evidence for OPEC as a price-setter.” other than managing demand declines in favor of the US oil industry.”

Versions of the legislation have existed since 2000 and have been approved by the committee, but have never become law.

“US oil industry resistance XOP,
+0.65%,
Saudi Arabia and other US industries fearing retaliation have generally slowed it down,” Salisbury said.

From the MarketWatch archives (2007): The House of Representatives targets OPEC while the White House threatens to veto a bill that would allow legal action

President Joe Biden’s administration currently has no official position on the NOPEC Act, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

“The potential impact and unintended consequences of this legislation warrant further study and reflection, especially at this dynamic moment in global energy markets brought about by President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” she said on Thursday, referring to the Russian Head of State Vladimir Putin.

“So we’re taking a look and certainly have some concerns about the potential impact,” Psaki told reporters during a briefing, one of her last before leaving the White House.

oil prices CL00,
+1.24%

BRN00,
+1.12%
were higher on Friday and headed for another strong weekly gain as supply concerns dominated.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/senate-panel-advances-anti-opec-bill-as-democrats-increasingly-threatened-by-inflation-11651857485?rss=1&siteid=rss Senate committee advances anti-OPEC bill as Democrats face ‘increasing threat of inflation’

Brian Lowry

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