Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

US Congress Targets OPEC

The US Congress has voted to brand OPEC’s efforts to control world oil prices illegal.

And with support of the legislation strong in the Senate as well, President Bush could soon be thrust into the unenviable position of siding with OPEC producers at a time of painfully high gasoline prices in the US.

As American motorists forked over a record average $3.21 a gallon — according to the most recent AAA survey — the House voted 345-72 Tuesday to approve a bill that would authorize the attorney general to sue the OPEC countries in U.S. courts.

Dubbed the “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act of 2007″ or “NOPEC” bill, the measure would make it illegal for foreign governments to try to limit oil and gas production to try to control energy prices.

Championed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., the bill would essentially make it illegal for foreign nations like those in OPEC to operate a cartel. “We don’t have to stand by and watch OPEC dictate the price of our gas,” Conyers said. “We can do something about … this anti-competitive, anti-consumer behavior. And we are.”

However President Bush is threatening to veto any move. “The Bush administration’s threat to veto this bill is just further proof that the administration favors the international oil cartel over the American consumer,” Conyers said.

Comments (11)

  1. Thomas Buonomo says:

    While the breakup of OPEC (as well as the private cartels or oligopolies attempting to gain access to Iraq’s oil) can be seen as a positive prospect, Congress should couple this effort with a plan for helping oil export-dependent Middle Eastern countries to diversify their economies. One of the prerequisites for democracy in the Middle East is the downfall or weakening of those authoritarian governments the U.S. has for so long supported, which can only be accomplished by ending state control over the economy. It does not follow, however, that world oil prices should be dictated by the United States. If consideration is not given to Mideast economies in negotiating the future price of oil the result will be socioeconomic instability and greater attraction to terrorism inspired by the accurate perception of U.S. imperialism.

  2. Rob Prince says:

    amusing…demagoguery pure and simple.
    problem with current oil prices combines increased global demand with refinery shortages here in the US.
    congress is aiming at the wrong target – it is the US refiners (who have made record profits) who should be called on the carpet and who every year about this time make their annual financial killing.

    rob prince/denver

  3. Peter Coupland says:

    The rest of the world is getting very tired of the USA thinking it can keep consuming 25% of the worlds oil .(Yeah its not yours!!!!!!).The price of gas in the USA is a lot cheaper than almost every other country in the world.As a Canadian I can tell you
    sentiment towards the USA is rapidly going down up here.

  4. Jerry Macquire says:

    The reason oil is so expensive is because it is running out. The OPEC nations are simply running out of oil and there is no way for them to pump more of it. Also, it is their oil and they can do with it as they please.

    Worthy of note: If OPEC nations expand and diversify their economies they will consume MORE oil not less, meaning they will export less oil and prices will go up. This is a simple demonstration of logic. Also, U.S oil refinerers are not at fault, oil all over the world is growing more and more sour instead of ‘sweet’. The result is oil refineries need more down time. Simple because most U.S refineries can only handle sweet crude, and 10 years ago refiners did not see this as being a problem, in fact few people did.

    Also, refinery capacity has been reduced by NIMBY-ism, not price gouging oil companies. Simply it is the american publics fault for not letting more oil refineries be built. Don’t like high oil prices? Then enjoy having an oil refinery in your back yard! Capeesh? and one more thing, ethanol is not the answer because it consumes more energy to make than it puts out, and has less energy per unit in it than normal gasoline, meaning you’ll need more ethanol to go the same distance. So ethanol is not the answer either. In a concise, nice way to put this, You guys better sell your SUV’s for scrap and ride a bike to work instead of whining about high oil prices. Got it? Consumerist pigs.

  5. Martin Drax says:

    As someone from “Old Europe” I can only shake my head… The USA is one country on this planet. A large one, but just ONE. How come many in your leadership are assuming that the “rest of the world”‘s only purpose is to make sure that the USA are getting everything in terms of resources they think they need?? How about this to do list for starters:
    * Start disentangling your administration and the oil business,
    * show that you are willing and able to SAVE energy,
    * start visibly fighting climate change just like EVERYBODY else is trying,
    * show clearly that your are seeking truth around 9/11,
    * disable arguments in a more credible way that you are not waging resource wars in the Middle East,
    * and finally stop whining that nobody in the world seems to like you. Do the above and everything will be… at least much better than today. Thanks.

  6. Kevin Crawford says:

    ““We don’t have to stand by and watch OPEC dictate the price of our gas,” Conyers said. “We can do something about … this anti-competitive, anti-consumer behavior. And we are.””

    The arrogance this legislation conveys is unbelievable and completely irresponsible. As an American, I’m ashamed. As far as I’m concerned, we can’t do much about this problem until we change our way of living. And not just a little. The oil’s going to keep more expensive because the demand has started (or will start soon) to outstrip supply. This is the most basic rule of economics and our leaders don’t seem to appreciate it.

    Is there a lot of greed in the oil industry? Of course there is. But guess what? It’s not much different than anyone who goes about driving a Ford Expedition from point A (home) to point B to point A to point C to point A to point Z without even giving it a second thought, because it’s MY oil to use. Get out of the way, because I’m getting mine! The US is so overrun with cars now that in many cases it’s not even remotely safe to travel otherwise. The good news for bicyclists is that once the middle class can no longer afford to drive quite so much, there’ll be a little more room for us.

    Instead of funneling our energy into making some real changes to a more sustainable way of life, politicians are catering to our desire, and (even worse!) our belief that we’re entitled to consume forever more. Just as James Howard Kunstler says, we’re sleepwalking into the future.

    It’s way past time for a politician with the balls to tell us what we are about to face. And it’s not the hydrogen economy.

  7. David Wilson says:

    The US Congress is in Cloud Cuckoo Land if it thinks it can sue OPEC. “Our gas”??!!!

    Besides which OPEC is doing everybody in the industrialised world a favour – in deliberately keeping the price of oil high by keeping output throttled back ( if thats what they are doing and not just struggling with accelerating depletion) they are encouraging the development of and investment in alternative energy supplies, and energy efficient technologies and systems.

    If Oil was still at $10 a barrel, as at the end of the 90′s, nobody would ever want to build another windmill or invest in energy efficiency technologies – all you would see would be more oil fired electricity generating plant, more oil fired heating of poorly insulated buildings, more and bigger SUV’s

    OPECis doing everybody the same service that the Texas Railroad commission used to, encouraging rational rather than irresponsible use of a valuable finite resource by keeping prices high and relatively stable. Cyclical boom and bust swings do nobody any good. More power to their elbow.

  8. Brian Robinson says:

    I think that the US should fix OPEC by flipping what they do on its head. I would say that the U.S. raise tarrifs on imported oil from the OPEC countries thereby making thier oil less attractive to purchasers. Of course then OPEC will retaliate and not sell oil to US companies.

    Why wouldn’t Bush side with the American consumers?

    Well the main reason is that the US hasn’t done enough to give itself leverage in this area. Since the inception of the Strategic Oil Reserve we only have 56 days of consumption covered by government.

    http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/reserves/spr/spr-facts.html

    If you are gonna try to strong arm OPEC you need to be able to offset completely the oil they could withhold. If you don’t have electric cars or a coal gasification process, ethanol, whatever, the average consumer will suffer more than they might if nothing was done.

  9. not so much,ya'all says:

    A couple of points here;

    our population is growing. need some of our own supply.

    we have our own oil. (100′s of billions of barrels)
    and 1 trillion foot lbs. of natural gas or more.

    we can’t seem to get it because of a political party{dems).

    the chi-coms and cuba are drilling 60 miles from international waters with the U.S.A.

    even if we could get it, we have no gasoline refining capacity-(we need to build more refineries)
    we import 25% of our GASOLINE now.

    WE NEED NUCLEAR POWER ALSO

    If france and india have enuf for themselves, why can’t we? it’s the cleanest and safest energy around!

    if anyone is evil, it’s the dems in congress that are for making us suffer, and bowing to the alter of the environmentalist kooks who also, make us suffer, under a complete hoax= global warming.

    by the way, type in “light bulbs” in the search engine at the walmart site, and not one bulb there is under 6$ dollars! get out the debit card, we’re in for a ride.

  10. Vince Nuzo says:

    We have the right to remove oil from our mercantile exchange.

    Thats probably the best solution since it will completely remove speculation thus reducing the price gouging.

    I personally would love to see the world stand behind this effort the US congress is putting together to deter OPEC from price gouging.

    Another solution would be for the USA to start charging all the world powers for the protection and stop giving aid to all these countries.

    Particually our Canadian neighbors, who are evidently begining to hate us (for no rason), based on the prior post in this thread.

    I appologize if Im perceived as being arrogant, but Canada need the USA to protect itself. Canadas army is very weak compared to other nations. Its the USA that deters a take over of Canada.

    We really need to be smarter with out spending and start charging for our military protection we provide to all these other nations.

  11. Robert Brown says:

    I think OPEC should play its due role for controlling the oil prices. The rise in oil prices is causing the rise in prices of the other things as well.

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