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US House committee to consider bill on pressuring OPEC oil group

WASHINGTON, May 10 (Reuters) – The House Judiciary Committee was set to consider a bill on Wednesday to pressure the OPEC oil production group to stop making output cuts that can result in higher fuel prices for U.S. drivers.

The committee was expected to vote on the so-called No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels, or NOPEC, bill, which would change U.S. antitrust law to revoke the sovereign immunity that has protected OPEC+ members and their national oil companies from lawsuits over price collusion. OPEC+’s members include Saudi Arabia and Russia.

In March, a group of bipartisan senators introduced a similar bill in the Senate.

Analysts were skeptical that the NOPEC bill would pass Congress while oil prices were relatively low as the market fears a recession. “House Judiciary Committee passage of NOPEC is more a biennial tradition than a sign of momentum,” Rapidan Energy Group said in a note to clients. The committee has passed the bill in 2018, 2019 and 2021, Rapidan said.

The bill would have to pass the committees, both chambers of Congress and be signed by President Joe Biden to become law.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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