This bill — the NOPEC Act — would subject the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel subject to U.S. anti-trust law by removing a sovereign immunity shield that was created by judicial precedent and therefore protects OPEC nations. Specifically, it’d be a violation of anti-trust law for any organization’s members to cooperate to: 1) limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product; 2) set or maintain the price of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product; or 3) take any other action to restrain the trade of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product.
OPEC is considered to be a cartel, which is a group of suppliers or buyers of a commodity or product (in this case petroleum suppliers) who coordinate their actions to increase their collective profits and decrease competition within the market they participate in. OPEC was created in 1960, it currently has 15 member nations which collectively provided 44% of global oil production and possessed 73% of the world's oil reserves as of 2016.
By removing the sovereign immunity shield from OPEC, whose members are foreign countries, the Dept. of Justice would be able to bring actions against OPEC members in federal court.
The bill’s full title is the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act of 2018.