NOPEC Bill More Prominent In US Political Debate Due To Khashoggi Murder - Ex-Official
Umer Jamshaid 5 days ago Fri 15th March 2019 | 09:52 PM
The discussion concerning the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC) has gained traction in the United States because of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, IHS Markit Senior Vice President and former US ambassador to Ukraine and Mexico Carlos Pascual told Sputnik on the sidelines of the CERAWeek energy conference
On February 7, the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved NOPEC, which seeks to extend US antitrust laws to member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The legislation focuses on the issue of coordinating oil production and therefore influencing oil prices.
"The issue of the NOPEC legislation has become more prominent in the American political debate because of the outlook of the US Congress after the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and it has come up more broadly in the context of a desire by the United States Congress to make a strong political statement about Saudi Arabia and the direction of change there," Pascual said.
According to reports, NOPEC would eliminate sovereign immunity and the "Act of State" doctrine that now prevents US courts from ruling on price fixing and other antitrust charges against foreign governments.
Pascual explained that the debate concerning NOPEC involves broader political and energy issues that have become intertwined, including the Khashoggi murder.
"I think that it [the murder] has become a principal driver of the current focus of the NOPEC legislation," Pascual said.
Khashoggi went missing on October 2, 2018, after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Riyadh initially denied any knowledge of his whereabouts, but later admitted that the journalist was killed with a drug injection before his body was dismembered and taken out of the consulate.
Numerous US lawmakers have said they believe Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the killing. Saudi authorities have charged 11 people in the case, but have denied any involvement by the Saudi royal family in Khashoggi's murder.