OPEC says NOPEC bill could put U.S. overseas assets, personnel at risk


Adds background, details from the letter

LONDON, April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. assets and personnel overseas could be at risk if the country decided to pass a bill against OPEC, known as NOPEC, the head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries told member states.

In a letter, seen by Reuters, Mohammad Barkindo encouraged member countries to engage with the U.S. administration.

"It is essential that member countries reinforce diplomatic bilateral contacts with government officials in the U.S. ... and explain the disadvantages for the U.S. should the NOPEC bill become law".

"These disadvantages might include: weakening the immunity principle at a global level, putting at risk U.S. interests overseas, and the protection for their personnel and assets," the letter said.

A U.S. House panel this week passed a bill to open OPEC to lawsuits for collusion in boosting petroleum prices, but it was uncertain whether the legislation would be considered by the full chamber.

The NOPEC bill, introduced by Representative Steve Chabot, a Republican, passed on a voice vote in the House Judiciary Committee.

Similar bills to crack down on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries when oil prices are on the rise have appeared in Congress without success for more than 20 years.

Barkindo also said other disadvantages of the bill might include undermining important trade and energy relations between the U.S. and member states and it could "increase the risk of volatility of the international oil markets, which directly affects U.S. oil-producing states and corporations".

(Reporting by OPEC Team, writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov, editing by Chris Reese and Barbara Lewis)


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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